What Happens to Pets in a Divorce?

Divorce can be a difficult and emotional process for all parties involved, including family pets. In many cases, pets are considered members of the family and the idea of separating from them can be just as painful as separating from a human loved one. However, unlike human family members, pets do not have a voice in the legal process and their well-being is often overlooked.


Pets are Treated Like Personal Property


When a couple gets a divorce, one of the main concerns is determining who will get custody of the children. But because family pets are not humans, they are not treated like children, but are treated like personal property in a divorce. If the couple can come to an agreement about who will keep the pets after the divorce, the court will usually honor this agreement. But if the couple cannot agree, the court will treat the pet just like it was a car, gun, furniture, or any other piece of personal property.


Even though pets may be considered property in legal terms, this does not mean that they are not valued and loved members of the family. Many pet owners form deep emotional bonds with their pets and consider them to be a part of their family. Treating pets as property can be challenging for pet owners, because they may not want to think of their beloved companion as a mere possession. However, it is important to understand that this is how the legal system views pets.


It is also worth noting that some states have laws that allow for pet custody arrangements to be determined based on the best interests of the pet, rather than treating them as property. These laws allow for a more holistic approach to determining the pet’s living arrangements, taking into account factors such as the pet’s emotional and physical well-being. It is important to check the laws of the state you are in and discuss this with your lawyer.


Animals Can Feel Your Anxiety and Stress


In addition to the emotional stress that pets may face during a divorce, they may also experience physical stress. Pets can become anxious or depressed when their routine and environment is disrupted, and this can lead to health problems. It is important for couples going through a divorce to consider the well-being of their pets and to come to an agreement on who will take care of them. This can help to minimize the stress and uncertainty that pets may experience during the divorce process. It may also be helpful to seek the advice of a veterinarian or a pet behaviorist to help ensure that the pet’s needs are being met during the transition period.


Pets can also feel financial stress. Family pets require a lot of care, including food, veterinary care, grooming and other expenses. When a couple is going through a divorce, they may not be able to come to an agreement on who will pay for the pet’s expenses. This can lead to the pet being neglected or abandoned. The financial strain of a divorce can also make it harder for the pet’s primary caregiver to afford necessary veterinary care. This can have serious consequences for the pet’s health and well-being. For example, if the pet is not able to receive regular check-ups or necessary treatments, this can lead to serious health problems down the road. It’s important for couples going through a divorce to come to an agreement on who will be financially responsible for the pet and how the expenses will be shared. This can help to ensure that the pet’s needs are met and that they are not neglected as a result of the financial strain of the divorce.


Consult With a Divorce Attorney


If you are going through a divorce and have a pet or several pets, it is important to consult with a lawyer who is knowledgeable about divorce and property division. If you have been searching the Mississippi area for a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. Our firm can handle your case with a balance of compassion and confidence to guide you through one of the most difficult times a person can go through. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn about your options.

Please also see us on mississippi-lawyers.com and view our reviews on avvo.com, superlawyers.com, and martindale.com. Our email address is mississippi-lawyers.com and our office phone number is (601) 948-4444 option 1.

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