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June 26, 2020

Going through a divorce is always difficult. Even if you don’t have children, if you share a pet with your spouse, it’s fair to have concerns about who gets them after your marriage is over. In Pleasanton and other areas of California, just like in the country as a whole, pets are treated as property by the law, rather than as family.

Although your dog, cat, bird or any other type of pet is family to you and your spouse, when you get a divorce, the court always views them as property. This means that when you separate, the court will deal with your pet in the same way as they do appliances, furniture, jewelry and so forth. In most cases, if one party brought the pet into the marriage, they will be the one who is awarded the right to keep the pet afterward.

At the same time, there are certain factors that the court will consider. One of the most crucial is who owned the pet prior to the marriage and who was the primary caretaker. Generally speaking, pets are deemed just as other property in the eyes of the law and can become marital property. This means that even if one party owned the pet and brought them into the marriage, the pet became both spouse’s responsibility.

A pet can become marital property due to each spouse paying for the pet’s various needs. These include food, vet bills and other things that ensure the pet’s care. The court examines all of these facts and will consider which spouse has paid more money toward the care of the pet. If the marriage produced children, the court may consider that as well in determining which party gets the pet. Overall, most often, the spouse who has custody of the children receives the pet as the court deems that the pet staying with the kids is in the children’s best interests.

If you are considering divorce and have a pet, you need the Tierney Law Group on your side. A Pleasanton divorce and family law attorney can help you start your petition. Contact Tierney Law Group at your earliest convenience to discuss your situation with an experienced Pleasanton divorce and family law attorney.