We all know that couple who has no children but treats their dog or cat with nearly the same level of care and affection. As the saying goes, “life begins at 5:01 pm” for our pets. Everyone has experienced the excitement of a dog at seeing its owner, or the contented affection of a cat as you scratch it behind the ears or under the chin. Those of us who have never been without a family pet know precisely how important they can be in our daily lives.
For this reason, it is maddening to most pet owners to be told that the Courts treat these beloved members of our society as nothing more than property. Oh sure, there are laws designed to prevent and punish animal cruelty. Who isn’t outraged at the evening news stories of the gulag kennels or the locked barn of starving horses.
But when it comes to divorce law, there is no difference between Spot and a table lamp. Most Courts won’t even consider visitation arrangements regarding pets. The welfare of the animal (apart from preventing physical harm) is simply not a part of the decision process.
For this reason, it is important to consider detailed and precise contractual arrangements in a divorce settlement agreement which take the welfare of the animal into consideration. See one of our Family Law specialists to discuss this. Your pet may love you for it.