An Arizona attorney offers best ideas for pet custody after divorce
Many families in Arizona have a close bond with their pets, and when families split up, deciding who gets custody of a pet is almost as complex as resolving a child custody dispute.
Research shows roughly 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce. In addition, about 62 percent of households across the US have at least one pet. Therefore, it’s likely that a great deal of people getting divorced must decide what will happen with their pets.
This decision is not as simple as you may think and it is often decided in Arizona courtrooms. These cases most frequently involve dogs but can also involve cats and other pets.
How are pet custody disputes resolved?
Disputes over pet custody must often be resolved in a courtroom. In many cases, this is due to one party using a pet as leverage to entice another party to give up an asset with financial value.
Pets are considered nothing more than personal property in a courtroom. Therefore, an agreement must be made despite the emotional attachment both parties have to a particular pet.
A prenuptial agreement is one option married couples could explore to ensure that one party will have custody of a pet whether they stay married in the future.
On the other hand, if you are in the process of a divorce or have already been divorced, gaining custody of a pet could be far more complex. If a pet belonged to one spouse prior to the marriage, that spouse would likely get custody.
If the pet was mutually owned by you and your spouse, you may have to make a convincing case as to why you should be granted custody. This includes how often you:
- Took the pet to the veterinarian
- Take the pet for walks
- Feed your pet or buy pet food
- Bathe your pet
Making your case for a custody agreement
Making your case may require statements from witnesses. You may gather evidence by requesting testimonies or written statements from your veterinarian, neighbors, friends, and family.
If you made any pet store purchases, it’s important to save your receipts. In addition, if you obtained a dog license, you may get a copy from your city or town clerk acknowledging that you applied for the license.
If you have children who are emotionally attached to a family pet, then the same party that has custody of the kids should get the pet. If custody is shared, the pet should be as well.
If you are going through a divorce or are already divorced, it’s important to discuss your matter with an Arizona family lawyer with experience handling complex cases such as this. Attorney Brad Crider can help ensure that the legal process goes smoothly. To learn more, contact us online to schedule your free consultation.