Legally, a pet is considered personal property. A pet is under the legal control of its owner. A pet can conceivably have financial value, like a purebred used for breeding for example. However more typically, the value is sentimental.
A pet, of course, can’t be divided like other property. There is also no such thing as pet “custody” comparable to child custody. However, it is possible, by agreement, for a couple to agree on who has the pet either totally or in a timeshare type arrangement.
Courts can’t quantify the value of a pet compared to other property, typically. There are no “pet” statutes for a Court to consider, other than the overly general property statute. However, a Court may consider:
- When children are involved, if one parent has the children more and the children have a close bond with the pet.
- Whether one parent works long hours away from home and would be unable to routinely care for the pet.
- What spouse keeps the family home, presumably more familiar to the family pet.
- If one spouse is more attached to the pet and the other appears to be arguing only to be spiteful.
- Who paid for the pet, as well as who routinely cared for the pet.
- Which spouse is better able to take financial care of the pet.
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