Divorce can be a challenging time for everyone involved, including family pets. While we may consider our pets as part of the family, the law still views them as property. Deciding who gets the family pets in a Florida divorce can be a contentious issue. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the factors that influence pet ownership decisions and outline some possible options for pet owners.
Florida Doesn’t Recognize Pet Custody
Firstly, it’s essential to understand that Florida law does not allocate custody of pets. Instead, pets are treated as personal property. When deciding whom to award the pet, the court will consider the value and ownership of the pet, as well as who took care of it. In some cases, the court may order one spouse to buy out the other spouse’s ownership of the pet.
You Can Make Unofficial Pet Custody Arrangements
Spouses may agree to an unofficial pet custody arrangement, such as shared or sole custody. Shared custody arrangements typically involve a set schedule where each spouse has specific days or weeks with the pet. Sole custody arrangements can involve one spouse keeping the pet while the other spouse can visit or perhaps have some decision-making power regarding the pet’s care.
It’s important to understand that because Florida doesn’t regard pets as anything more than property, such custody arrangements are unofficial and unenforceable. The court will still award entire ownership of a pet to one spouse, and that person can determine alone who may spend time with their pet.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
As you can see, determining who gets the family pets in a Florida divorce can be tricky. If both spouses love the pet and want to keep it, the issue could boil into a heated debate. That said, spouses who are somewhat amicable may be able to work out an unofficial custody agreement despite one spouse becoming the pet’s official sole owner.
If you're facing a divorce and have concerns about pet ownership, it's best to speak with a family law attorney in Florida who can provide guidance on your options. Our experienced lawyers at Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A. are here to provide the legal support you need.
Contact us online to learn more and get started today.