Who gets to keep the pet after a divorce in Florida?

person holding their pet cat

If you are dissolving your marriage, you may wonder what will happen to your family pet. Similarly to other hotly contested issues such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division, pet custody is often a common dispute in divorces. For many couples, pets are considered a member of the family. Although you may consider your family pets family members, the court views them as personal property. Therefore, depending on when the pet was acquired it could be subject to equitable distribution similar to other property and assets in a divorce. If you want to keep your family pet, you need a determined Pensacola Property Division Lawyer on your side who can help you navigate the intricacies associated with this legal process. In addition, please continue to follow along to learn whether you can keep your family pet after a divorce in Florida. 

Are pets subject to equitable distribution in Florida?

When divorcing, depending on the state you reside in, certain laws regarding pet custody could affect whether you get to keep your family pet once the divorce is finalized. In many states, there are pet custody laws that handle pet custody similarly to the way child custody is handled. That being said, in those states the court will consider several factors to determine what is in the pet’s best interests.

In Florida, pets are considered personal property. Therefore, the courts will distribute family pets according to the state laws regarding property division. Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means assets accumulated during the marriage are split equitably between the divorcing couple. If a family pet was acquired during the marriage, the pet will be considered marital property. Therefore, it is subject to equitable distribution. This means one spouse will be awarded the family pet, while the other spouse will have to part ways with the animal forever.

It is imperative to note that since pets are considered personal property, there are no custody or visitation rights involved. However, if you or your former spouse acquired the pet outside of the marriage, it will be considered separate property. Therefore, the pet will not be subject to equitable distribution. Instead, the spouse who purchased the pet will keep it after the divorce. To avoid a pet custody dispute, it is beneficial to attempt to reach a mutual agreement on who will keep the pet outside of court.

If you do not want to lose custody of your pet after a divorce, it is in your immediate interest to retain a knowledgeable lawyer from The Law Office of James M. Burns. Our firm is prepared to help you protect your hard-earned assets during a property division. Allow our dedicated legal team to fight for you today!