04 Dec Who Gets Fido?
There’s a lot of information about child custody arrangements when it comes to divorce, but what about pet custody agreements? They’re becoming more and more prevalent, and Bloom Law Office has seen an increase in clients asking about sole and shared arrangements for beloved pets. The laws vary based on state and each individual case, but California has recently made some major changes that might impact how these agreements are addressed around the country.
Who Gets Custody of the Kids?
In California, pet custody arrangements are starting to look a lot more like child custody arrangements. The Associated Press reports that until recently, pets have been considered property in a divorce. They were no different than a car or house. It was a status that simply wasn’t in keeping with how many people see their pets—as fur babies or a genuine part of the family.
Now, a judge has the authority to dictate who gets custody of pets in divorce cases. It’s almost identical to how child custody arrangements are reached, and there’s been an increase in shared agreements. After all, just because you’re getting divorced doesn’t mean you also want to divorce your pet.
Many pets were adopted in partnership with your soon-to-be-ex. In other situations, one person brought their pet into the relationship (again, similar to children). The new California bill that gives pets “living being” status was signed by Governor Jerry Brown. Pets are still technically considered community property, but judges are now deciding who gets custody of the pet based on indicators like who feeds the pet, walks it, takes it to the vet, and other similar tasks.
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If a pet is “like” a family member, they should also be treated like one according to Assemblyman Bill Quirk. He introduced the law because he wanted pets to have the status they’ve earned. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2019, and at that point, judges will start getting creative. The AP reports that there are some judges who are trying to figure out which party the pet likes better. If there are multiple pets in the home, should they be split up? If you’re facing a divorce and want Fido’s best interests to come first, contact Bloom Law Office at 855-208-3650.