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Do you have to share the family pet after divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 7, 2022 | Divorce

Situations involving a pet can get complicated during a divorce. You may be unsure of exactly what’s going to happen or if you’re going to need to share them. Some people even talk about setting up a custody arrangement.

You can set up a custody arrangement yourselves, if you and your soon-to-be-ex are on good terms and you want to share the pet. Parents sometimes do this so the children can stay with the pet all the time. However, no matter how you see your family pet, in most states, including Virginia, the law sees that pet as property. This means that the court isn’t going to set up a custody agreement in most cases.

When you got the pet can make a difference

Another important question to ask is simply when you got the pet and who the legal owner is. Say that you and your spouse adopted it together after you got married. This makes it a marital asset considering that, as noted above, the law looks at your pet as nothing more than property. If only one of you wants to keep the pet, you’ll have to agree on some type of division, such as allowing one person to have the pet and the other to have an asset with an equal value.

However, maybe you got the pet before you got married. This could make it a separate asset. You may be allowed to keep the pet without having to do any sort of property division. So being able to prove the date of adoption may be very important.

If you’re working through a complicated divorce situation, make sure you know exactly what legal steps you can take to sort everything out.