Pet Custody Battles in Divorce

a sad dog in a car

In addition to spousal support and child custody, couples going through divorce have to also figure out where the pets will live after the divorce. As pets become a more integral part of the family, this issue is becoming increasingly prevalent during divorce proceedings.

Where Does the Law Stand?

Generally, courts view pets as personal property and evaluate the case just as they would any other piece of property. Judges will likely ask who put up the money to buy the pet and whose income was primarily used to cover for the pet’s expenses, such as medical bills.

However, the Animal Legal and Historical Center at Michigan State University has stated that some judges have differed from straight property analysis to create new precedents in the field of pet custody. They go on to note that most of these cases involve dogs.

This means that while technically they don’t have to look into the “best interests of the pet” when determining ownership, they may look at which party has spent time taking care of the pet and spending time with the pet.

a sad dog on a couch

Fighting for Custody of Your Pet

If you believe that you should be awarded sole custody of your pet after the divorce, it’s essential to build a strong case. Here are some examples of the evidence you may need to petition for full ownership with the court:

  • Adoption or registration papers that show you’re the owner.
  • Receipts and financial records that indicate you paid for the majority of the pet’s expenses, such as food, vet visits, insurance, and toys.
  • Proof that you’ve contributed to the wellbeing of your pet by walking it, training it, and arranging for pet sitting.
  • Evidence that you have a larger space and more accommodating schedule to care for the pet after the divorce.


If you’relooking for legal advice regarding pet custody during your divorce proceedings in Chico, California, contact the experts at the Law Offices of Ron Marquez. Our team of certified and skilled lawyers will help you build a strong case in court. Our expert family law attorneys are skilled at negotiating several aspects of divorce proceedings, including asset division, child custody, pet custody, alimony, and spousal support.

Call us at 530-332-8110 for a consult with our friendly divorce lawyers.


Disclaimer: This blog does not provide legal advice and is written for information purposes only. Reading the content of this blog or information contained on this site, or the transmission of information from or to this site does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.



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