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Can I get custody of my pet?

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2024 | Family Law |

If you are a pet owner considering a divorce, you’ll want to know what will happen to your pet. In some cases, it is simple – one person wants a particular pet, and the other does not. But what if you both want to keep the same animal?

In this case, you need to understand how the law sees the matter:

You cannot get custody of a pet in Florida

While a few states have passed pet custody laws, Florida is not one of them. Pets are property here. They have the same status as your bicycle or kitchen chair. Courts in the state can only award custody over a human, not an item of property.

Did someone own the pet before marrying?

Florida generally considers that an asset someone owned before marrying will still be theirs when they divorce. So, if you bought that cute python while still single, your spouse is unlikely to have any claim to it. As for the cat you bought to celebrate buying your first home together – you would generally have as much chance as each other of keeping it. It’s just one more joint asset to add to the total of joint assets you must divide between you.

Do you have children to consider?

Divorce can be a tough time for kids, and the family pet could provide them with a lot of comfort during these difficult times. Hence, you might want to look at where the child will spend most of their time and have the pet stay with them.

Pets can be important, so it is wise to get legal help to negotiate if you wish to keep yours when you divorce.