Who gets the dog or cat in a Florida divorce?

Many people value their pet as they do their own children.  Hence, during a divorce, the custody of a pet can become a source of debate between the parties.  However, some question as to whether a court can provide or even enforce an order addressing the custody of a pet in a divorce case.  In Florida, there is no law that addresses the custody of a pet however, courts typically categorize and divorce them in a divorce matter as they would any other type of property.  

Specifically, Florida law dictates that property is subject to equitable distribution, which means that the property or pet in question will need to be identified as either separate or marital property.  If the pet was obtained by a single spouse before the marriage took place, it may be asserted that it should remain with him or her post-divorce. However, the other spouse may claim that marital funds were used to support the needs of a pet and therefore, it should be considered marital property.  If it is determined that the pet is marital property, then the court will attempt to equitably “divide” the pet.  Most often, the judge is likely to award one the beloved pet to one of the spouses, which can be very painful for the other spouse to endure.  The good news is that the parties can develop an agreement that allows each spouse to spend a certain amount of time with the pet, which may include the times in which the pet will be with each partner, the manner of exchange, and the determination as to who will cover the pet’s expenses.

Call the Law Offices of Beryl Thompson-McClary P.A. Today

We have law offices in Orlando and practice in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Brevard,and Volusia counties.  To schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney, you can call our office at 1-888-640-2999.

Beryl Thompson-McClary

390 N. Orange Ave., Suite #2300
Orlando, Florida 32801

Tel: 1-888-640-2999
Open: 8 AM to 5 PM or by appointment

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