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Who Gets the Pets After a Divorce? March 14, 2019

Sparta, Monroe
Who Gets the Pets After a Divorce?, Sparta, Wisconsin

Although pets are considered personal property under family law, they’re usually considered members of the family by those who care for them. In other words, when couples with pets decide to divorce, disputes are likely. If you have pets and are thinking about ending your marriage, here’s what you should know about fighting to keep them. 

What Kinds of Factors Will Influence the Judge’s Decision?

When a couple cannot agree on who gets to keep the pets, they must take the issue to court. Although a traditional custody battle will not ensue because animals are considered property, the family law judge will take into account a variety of factors when resolving the dispute. Examples include each party’s history of caring for the pets and living situation.

family lawWhether one party obtained the animals before the marriage will also influence the proceedings, as will any existing child custody orders. It’s not uncommon for a judge to simplify matters by ordering the pets to follow the same visitation schedule as the children. 

Will the Proceedings Differ if the Pets Are Considered an Asset?

If the pets are significantly valuable or used for breeding, family law judges will take a different approach when determining ownership. In such scenarios, the animals are treated as assets and will influence the final divorce settlement. If one party retains the breeding business, for example, the other may get a different asset as compensation for relinquishing their share of ownership. 


If you’ve decided to end your marriage and want to keep your pet, the compassionate team at Arndt Buswell & Thorn SC will help you navigate every stage of the proceedings. As a full-service firm based in Sparta, WI, they have been representing clients throughout Monroe County for over 25 years. Because they offer a vast array of legal services, they strive to build a lasting relationship with each and every client. Whether you need a family law attorney or a bankruptcy lawyer, you can rely on them for strategic guidance. They also assist with estate planning, personal injury claims, criminal defense, probate, employment law disputes, and environmental law issues. To learn more about the team that would be representing you, visit their website or call (608) 269-1200.

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