For many people, pets are just as much of the family as any other member. When a divorce comes to fruition, one factor that is often contested is who will keep the family dog, or whichever type of animal the couple keeps as a pet. Sometimes, one spouse will simply give up the pet to the other spouse, but in other situations, it becomes a battle.

One of the major questions that comes up is whether the couple can create a custody agreement for their pet. Though pets are like children to some, the state doesn’t see it this way. In New York State, pets are considered property. They are to be divided in the equitable distribution process. Therefore,  only one spouse will be granted the pet in a divorce.

If the decision on which spouse gets to keep the pet becomes a contested matter, the court will be forced to look at a number of different factors in order to make the choice. They may look at the new living arrangements of each spouse, the amount that each spouse financially contributed to caring for the pet, and who has been the spouse responsible for making sure the pet has gone to veterinary appointments, etc. This may be hard to prove. If you are concerned that your pet will be given to your spouse in a divorce, it is best to make sure you can collect all of the documentation necessary that can help you prove your case. This may include pet insurance statements, vet records, registration records, and bills.

If you need help with your divorce, contact an experienced divorce attorney today.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your divorce and family law matters, contact the Law Offices of Mark S. Paige, P.C. today to schedule a consultation.