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How pets may be handled in your Florida divorce case

| Jul 7, 2020 | Property Division |

Divorce can be like a tornado ripping through your house. Much like a hurricane, you may see it coming your way, yet you’re not sure what to do to prepare for it adequately. The ending of a marriage is devastating not only for you as the couple but also for your pets.

The legal battle involved in fighting for custody of family pets can be just as contentious as a dispute between former spouses over who gets custody of the children. A Florida judge may name one spouse as the full custodial parent of the pets, or the court may award each of them joint custody instead.

Many people consider pets as part of their family. Thus, never seeing them again or only seeing them on occasion may be too emotional to bear. As a result, some jurisdictions have begun changing their divorce laws, allowing pets to be thought more of as companions, rather than just pieces of property.

It’s not uncommon for people to form stronger bonds with their pets than they share with fellow human beings. Relationships might come and go, but the connection between a pet and its caregiver often lasts forever.

In 1897, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that dogs were personal property and nothing more; however, times are now different. Back then, America was of a more rural country. Humans used dogs for labor or breeding in the past. It was only after the U.S. transitioned into a more urban society that dogs started being considered companions rather than just property.

If you are going through a divorce and have a family pet, who gets custody of the pet and has visitation rights to see them may need to be things that you two hash out as part of your divorce settlement negotiations. A property division attorney with experience handling cases involving pets here in Fort Myers may be able to help work out an amicable resolution in your case. Your lawyer can help you avoid letting the court make an arbitrary decision that may not be in the best interest of you or your pet.

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