How Are Pets Divided In A Divorce?
When considering a divorce, you might be concerned about how major assets such as your house and car may be divided between you and your spouse. However, considering how a beloved family pet will be allocated in a divorce can bring about an entirely different kind of anxiety. Many people are deeply connected to their pets and may rely on them for emotional support, or even think of them as a child or family member. For this reason, in many cases, the thought of losing a pet may keep someone from even moving forward with a divorce. If you are considering or going through a divorce in the Orlando, Florida, area, and you have concerns about how your beloved pet will be impacted, it is important to contact an Orlando divorce lawyer as soon as possible in order to determine what actions can be taken to protect ownership of your pet.
Mediation and Negotiation for Pet Ownership in a Divorce
Although a judge can, and often does, decide on which spouse will receive ownership of any family pets, as well as all other shared marital property, that does not have to be the case. Pet ownership can be a very delicate subject, as both parties likely have their own relationship with the animal. For this reason, it is much better if the parties are able to work out a solution on their own, instead of handing the decision off to a judge who does not know them or their pet. The best way to do this is often by retaining a neutral third-party mediator who can use dispute resolution tactics to guide the parties to a mutually agreeable outcome, or for each party to retain an attorney who can represent their interests in negotiating an agreement with regard to the pet. If neither of these methods allows the parties to determine who should keep the pet, then the matter will go to court and a judge will equitably distribute the pet along with all other shared property.
Equitable Distribution of Pets
Only shared marital property can be equitably distributed, so the first question to ask is whether the pet is actually shared marital property. Pets that belonged to either spouse independently prior to entering the marriage will remain their separate property. However, in almost all cases, pets acquired during the course of a marriage will be considered marital property subject to equitable distribution. If the parties are unable to negotiate an agreement, such as exchanging one asset for pet ownership, the judge will decide the issue, largely based on value and the equitable distribution split.
Contact Greater Orlando Family Law and Schedule a Consultation Today
If you are going through a divorce in the Orlando area and want to make sure that the assets that matter most to you are protected, and that your interests are advocated for, you need a dedicated Orlando divorce lawyer on your side. Contact Greater Orlando Family Law today to schedule a consultation.