What do you do if you cannot imagine parting with Fido, Fluffy, or Rover, but you know your soon-to-be ex-spouse feels exactly the same way? A recent Maryland court decision dealing with pet custody addressed this very issue, and in a somewhat controversial move, awarded joint custody of the pet to both spouses. The spouses in this case both wanted custody of their beloved Shih Tzu mix, Lucky. After the judge considered both sides’ arguments, he decided the only fair option would be to award both spouses custody of Lucky for 6 months of the year.
In California, domestic pets, such as dogs and cats, are generally considered property. Thus, the approach taken by the Maryland court, which handled the pet custody issue in a method similar to child custody cases, is quite controversial.
In recent years, California has been more willing to protect pets throughout the divorce process. In fact, the California Family Code allows a court to grant one spouse the exclusive care, possession, or control of a pet. Likewise, a court can also order one spouse to stay away from a pet or refrain from taking, striking, harming or disposing of a beloved animal.
However, one of the main problems is that allowing a court the latitude to make such unique pet-custody rulings will result in further backlog an already congested court system. However, this approach can reach more equitable and satisfying outcomes for ex-spouses. For the full article, click here.
If you live in the Silicon Valley area and are concerned about what will happen to your beloved pet after your divorce, please contact the attorneys at Lonich Patton Erlich Policastri for more information. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Thanks to Chau Law.