How Pets are Handled in a Florida Divorce
We may fall out of love with our spouses, but just like our children, we never fall out of love with our pets. One of the main concerns and questions divorcing couples I represent will ask me is “How can I get “custody” of the pets?” It’s always a shock when I explain to them that pets fall under Florida’s equitable distribution laws and thus, are considered property to be divided.
Marital and Non Marital Property
Of course, if you had the pet prior to being married, the pet will not be considered marital property. If the pet was purchased during your marriage, there are many things that the judge will consider when determining the distribution of the pet, including “custody.”
Negotiate a “Pet” Sharing Plan
This is an area where your divorce attorney’s negotiation skills and advice are crucial. Depending on your unique situation, it may be advantageous to enter into an agreement with the other party by drawing up a schedule for sharing the pet. Also, if there are minor children the courts may consider the matter from a position of what is in the best interest of the children and in many cases, the pet. Your parenting plan that must be filed with the courts could reflect a similar plan to include the pet. However, keep in mind, this can work out well for cats and dogs, but it may not work for other types of pets. Whether you have dogs, cats or livestock, the best defense is hiring a Pasco/Hernando County family law attorney who is not afraid to firmly negotiate or litigate these sensitive issues on your behalf.
Florida’s Equitable Distribution Law
Many divorces are extremely emotional and can be considered high conflict and contentious. Add a beloved pet to the mix and things can get even more troublesome. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement about your pets, Florida’s equitable distribution law kicks in and ultimately the courts will determine who gets to keep the pet. If you know you will be fighting over the pet, it’s highly likely there will be other areas that will become troublesome. Read more: Equitable Distribution in Florida Divorces.
If you are divorcing in Pasco or Hernando County, Florida, representing yourself in a divorce lawsuit is highly discouraged. A skilled divorce lawyer with experience litigating high conflict divorce cases and high net worth divorces offers legal representation that not only protects your rights under Florida Law, but can determine your financial future. If you have questions or concerns and require assistance, please reach out to Attorney Wendy Doyle-Palumbo for a free initial consultation today at 727-824-5727.