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What Happens to Pets After Divorce?

Posted by Scott Mitchell | Apr 10, 2015 | 0 Comments

They're a part of our Christmas cards, they get the best scraps from our dinners, and we can't imagine life without them-our pets. Yet for some reason, California divorce laws put pets in the same category as physical property and expect spouses to just choose between pets or between properties during a divorce. This can be heartbreaking for many couples, especially when you go into it without a game plan.

Your pets deserve the best, even after a divorce has been finalized. The following tips can protect your beloved furry friends and help you avoid unnecessary separation.

Stay on Top of the Paperwork

Divorces are notorious for being rife with paperwork and when it comes to your pets, it is really no different. If your pets are registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC), check the documents to find out whose name is listed as the owner. You should have copies of their current vaccinations, Microchip ID numbers, and other ownership information. Even if you are the legal owner, you'll need the paperwork to prove it.

How do you plan to ‘parent' your pets?

While it sounds silly, pets often need custody arrangements, too. Many couples use the same custody arrangement for both children and pets in an effort to split parenting and pet time equally. This is one of the best ways to ensure that no spouse is getting more time than they should with your family pets.

Plan for the future.

We don't like to think about it, but aging is a natural part of an animal's life. Sit down with your spouse and talk about the future—who will care for them in their final days, make end of life decisions, or take care of the vet bills? The more detailed you are, the less stress you'll face when that day does arrive.

Exercise Empathy & Compassion

Most spouses are equally attached to their pets, which is why it is so difficult to share. Even so, do your best to remain compassionate toward what your partner might be feeling. Keep their best interests in mind and be as generous as possible with your pets. Chances are, your spouse might respond in kind when they note your willingness to share.

Your pets are a treasured part of your family and should be treated as such. Our firm compassionately handles every aspect of your divorce, all the way down to the details of your pets. Schedule your free consultation with our divorce lawyer in Modesto today!

About the Author

Scott Mitchell

If you expect nothing but the best for legal representation in any of these areas, you should contact Attorney Mitchell as soon as you realize you need assistance. He and his firm have handled more than 4,000 cases in the areas the law he practices, so you can be confident in him and his team.


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