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.