Pets in Divorce

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.

If you have more questions, please review the links to the left, head back to the MN Family Law Attorney home, or visit Majeski Law.  If you’re interested in retaining an attorney, please feel free to email or call using the links in the upper right.