Are pets property or people? How are pets treated in divorce? Can you get a parenting plan like with kids? Technically and legally, pets are property, subject to the same community property rules as all other items of property. But many times, a couple treats their pet more like a child than a piece of property. Either member of a divorcing couple can request to share custody and expenses of pets, but most of the time, an order of shared pet-time would be enforceable only if both parties agree. If you agree in a property settlement agreement or in a consent decree for divorce to share expenses and time with your pets, then it will be a binding contract between the two of you and enforceable in the court.
However, it is important to include any specific terms you have agreed upon with regards to cost and time sharing with your pets to ensure that your access to the support you need is not hindered in any way by divorce litigation. Fortunately, one of our amazing and dedicated attorneys can help you understand how the courts treat companion animals in a Mesa divorce. We love our pets as much as you do and understand how important it is to protect your animals.
Benefits of Classifying Your Pet as a Companion Animal
Sometimes, people use a pet as leverage in a divorce case. If one party is much closer to a pet than the other, the latter party can try to use that as leverage or make a claim to the pet. Sometimes we advise our clients to ask a physician for a prescription to have that pet become an emotional support animal before they enter divorce litigation in Mesa.
At that point, your ownership claim may take precedence in the eyes of the judge, because if we’re saying that the animal is part of what you need medically, the court is likely to agree. So, if you are anticipating a fight and you don’t think it’s best for your pet to be divided and shared between the two of you, you might consider getting an emotional support animal.
Pets as Gifts
If you bought a pet for your child, the child may be able to claim that the pet is their property and not the parents’ and subject to division within the community. Most often however, it would still be considered the community property of the spouses, even if a child is the primary caretaker for the animal.
In that case, you may consider taking your child to get a prescription for a companion animal. We could then argue in court that the community made a gift to the child.
Our Mesa lawyers are experienced in combining property law with the emotional implications of pets to help preserve the bond people have with their animals. If the custody of your pet is an issue to you, you might want to consider talking to an attorney from our firm about your specific situation.
Contact an Attorney to Learn More about Companion Animals and Pets in a Mesa Divorce
If you have a companion animal or an emotional support pet, you are much more likely to receive the property, the animal, and the expenses that go along with it. One of our diligent team members can help you draft an agreement which delineates your companion animal under your sole ownership as well as advocate for your rights in and out of the courtroom. Get in touch with our firm today to learn more about companion animals in a Mesa divorce.