Attorney West Palm Beach

How Does West Palm Beach Family Law Afford for Pets in Divorce?

Getting divorced can be tough enough, and when pets are involved, things can become complicated. At Bruce S. Rosenwater & Associates, P.A., we’re focused on offering the best possible support for family law in West Palm Beach. Our attorneys understand that pets are just as much your family as children or other loved ones. This is why it’s important to find an attorney that can help you find your best approach to your pets during divorce. At Bruce S. Rosenwater & Associates, P.A., we’re here to help.

What does family law in West Palm Beach say about pets?

Many people may think that pets are treated as children in divorce, meaning that certain aspects of West Palm Beach family law are discussed in regard to pets. You may think that pets are subject to rules such as visitation, time sharing and even financial support. But, the rules regarding family law in West Palm Beach often don’t apply to pets.

Instead, pets are regarded as property when it comes to divorce. Though some states may be changing their outlook, and other courts may have a case by case basis, overall pets are regarded as property during divorce. This may be because courts don’t want to exhaust themselves determining pet custody, as parties have brought exhaustive pet custody cases before courts repeatedly in the past, such as Bennett V. Bennett in 1995.

So how are pets regarded in family law in West Palm Beach?

Because pets are generally regarded as property when it comes to family law in West Palm Beach, they’re subject to factors such as property settlement and equitable distribution. For property settlement, it starts with both parties reaching agreements regarding pets outside of the courtroom. This may be reached through mediation or other services.

If property settlement cannot be reached regarding the pets, then the court may step in with equitable distribution. This is where the judge assigns the pet to one party. The judge often considers factors such as:

  • Who owned the pet before the union
  • Keeping the pet with the children
  • Who has the space for the pet
  • Who has the financial ability to care for the pet
  • Who is the most reliable owner for the pet

These factors take the best interests of the pet into consideration, along with the children as well. Keeping the pet with the children can help establish stability for the children. Selecting the party to retain pet ownership.