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Blogs from February, 2024

Pet Ownership

Pets are often considered a part of the family and can be an essential source of comfort and companionship, especially in times of stress, such as divorce. However, what happens to pets in a divorce can be contentious and emotional. In New Jersey, pets are considered property, which means they are subject to the laws governing property division in a divorce.

1. Ownership of the Pet

When determining pet custody, the first factor to consider is ownership. If one spouse came into the marriage with a pet, that pet is generally considered that spouse’s property and may not be subject to division. However, if the pet was acquired during the marriage, it is regarded as marital property, and the court will decide who gets custody based on various factors.

2. Primary Caregiver

One of the main factors the court considers when determining pet custody is who has been the primary caregiver. This includes factors such as who feeds, walks, and plays with the pet and who takes them to the vet. The court will examine the pet’s daily routine and who has been responsible for it. If one spouse can prove that they have been the primary caregiver, they may be awarded custody of the pet.

3. Best Interest of the Pet

The court’s main concern when determining pet custody is the pet's best interest. The court will look at various factors, such as the pet’s age, health, and temperament, as well as the living situation of each spouse. If one spouse has a better living situation for the pet, such as a larger yard or a more stable living situation, they may be awarded custody. The court may also consider the pet’s attachment to each spouse and whether separating the pet from one spouse would cause undue stress.

4. Joint Custody

In some cases, the court may award joint custody of the pet, similar to how custody of children is determined. This means that the pet will split its time between both spouses, and each spouse will be responsible for certain aspects of the pet’s care. This arrangement can work well if both spouses are willing to cooperate and agree on a schedule that works for everyone.

5. Negotiate Outside of the Court

While the court ultimately has the final say in pet custody disputes, it is often better to try to negotiate outside of court. This can not only save time and money but can also result in a more amicable resolution. Couples may work out a visitation schedule or agree to joint custody. It is always important to remember that pets are sensitive creatures and should be placed in a situation that is in their best interest and well-being.

Divorce Lawyers in Somerset County

If you're going through a divorce and are concerned about pet custody issues, The Scorpion Legacy can help. Located in Warren, NJ, we specialize in family law and have extensive experience in handling pet custody cases. Contact us today at (555) 555-5555 to learn more about how we can help you navigate this difficult process.

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