How Does My Divorce Affect the Family Pet(s)?

Most people know that they may have to divide marital property with their spouse as part of the divorce process. What many people don't know is that the division of assets and liabilities could also impact the family pets. Today, we're here to cover what you can expect from filing for divorce with regards to your animals.

To schedule a consultation, contact our office online or via phone at (908) 274-3028.

Property Division in NJ

New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property does not have to be split among divorcees 50/50, just in a manner that the parties (if they draft an agreement) or the court considers "equitable."

As a result, it's not uncommon for marital property to be split unequally between parties. For example, suppose parties share a child and one parent obtains sole custody. In that case, the court may award that parent the entirety of the marital home to reflect their parental status and make caring for the child easier.

What Happens to the Pets in an NJ Divorce?

Some states consider pets marital property and as such subject them to custody laws. In New Jersey, however, pets are considered personal property and are not subject to custody statutes the same way children are.

As a result, whoever contributed most to the pet's adoption or care is likely to receive ownership of the pet. Some courts may consider the pet's best interests during the case, but they are not obligated to do so.

It is worth noting that, since pets often hold significant emotional value to their owners, many people do arrange visitation schedules for pets. For example, if you gain ownership of the family dog, you may still allow your soon-to-be-ex to come over and walk them every day.

At DeTommaso Law Group, we can help you navigate the divorce and property division process more easily, including advocating for pet ownership when necessary.

To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (908) 274-3028.

Categories