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Who Gets to Keep the Family Pet During Divorce?

During the average divorce in Florida, equitable distribution rules are used when dividing up property between spouses. When it comes to child custody, the courts always want to rule in favor of whatever decision is in a child’s best interests. But what happened regarding Fluffy and Fido, the family pets? Many people see them as both a family member and property – does the court tend to agree?

Your Pet Is Your Property

As far as Florida is concerned, man’s best friend is not your child. No matter how much you love that dog, it is a piece of property in the eyes of the divorce court. Since Florida uses equitable distribution – each person gets their fair share, not an even share – only one spouse is going to end up with ownership of the family pet. This means that if you want to keep Fido, Fluffy, or your goldfish after your divorce, you will need to show the court why you deserve them.

Think of your pets like property and look for evidence that proves ownership, such as:

  • Receipts from when you purchased or adopted your pet.
  • Veterinary bills or records showing you took care of the animal.
  • Proof of purchase for pet food, toys, beddings, etc.

Essentially, you will want to try to show the court that you invested in and cared for your pet throughout the years, more so than your ex-spouse. It doesn’t matter who the dog likes more since they aren’t a family member with “best interests” to uphold. But at the same time, the pet’s best interests really should matter to you and your spouse.

If you aren’t capable of caring for your pet or providing them with a large enough home after the divorce, are you certain you even want to fight to keep it? If your cat always hisses at you but not your spouse, is that a cat you actually want in your home? The same, of course, can be said regarding your spouse. Before you get the court involved with deciding who gets your pet and why, it might be worlds easier to just discuss the matter with your spouse and come up with your own agreement.

Need help with any part of the divorce process, including deciding who keeps the cat or dog? Tampa Divorce Attorney Catherine Real can provide honest, straightforward, and reliable legal counsel and representation. Eliminate the guesswork, avoid unnecessary confrontations, and move your divorce forward with confidence by contacting the firm today.

  • Experienced Advocacy

    Get help from the trustworthy legal counsel from a former prosecutor and 35+ years' experience

    More About the Firm
  • Professional Reputation

    Read what real judges have to say about the work Catherine Real provides to her clients.

    Real Testimony
  • Mediation Services

    Our Florida Supreme Court Family Law Mediator offers an alternative to a contested divorce.

    Choose Mediation
  • Request Your Consultation

    Ready to discuss your case? Contact the firm today to request a meeting with Attorney Real.

    Get Started Now

Contact Us

Catherine W. Real, P.A. Catherine W. Real, P.A.
Tampa Divorce Attorney
Located at: 2110 West Platt Street,
Tampa, FL 33606
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Phone: (813) 867-7936
Local Phone: (813) 251-6705
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Disclaimer

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.