Making the decision to end your marriage can be difficult. Dividing up your assets is one of the more challenging aspects of any divorce, but this division of assets can be especially challenging when you and your spouse have pets that you both love.
Determining who will retain custody of pets is important when it comes to the success of your divorce. Here are three tips that you can use to help ensure you are able to keep custody of your pets once your divorce is complete:
1. Determine ownership of the pets.
Since many states treat pets as personal property, determining ownership of your animals can be beneficial in helping you retain custody of your animals once your divorce is complete.
Any personal property that was purchased prior to marriage remains the property of the purchasing party once a divorce is complete. If you brought your pets into a marriage, then you will retain custody of the animals following your divorce, even if your spouse has become attached to the animals as well.
2. Establish a record of care.
If your pets were purchased after your marriage was legalized, then they are considered joint property and could be awarded to either spouse during a divorce. Although technically considered personal property, many courts recognize that pets have the ability to evoke sentimental attachments that could affect the emotional well-being of an individual when these attachments are broken.
Be prepared to prove that you were responsible for providing the bulk of your pet's day-to-day care if you want to retain ownership of your animals following your divorce. The court will often award pets to the party who showed initiative in feeding, walking, and otherwise caring for animals during the marriage.
3. Show that you have a real need to retain ownership of your pets.
Animals can provide more than just companionship; pets can also serve as providers of emotional support. People who suffer from depression or anxiety often find that having a pet can be a beneficial way to control these conditions and improve their quality of life.
If you can prove that you have an emotional condition that is made better by the presence of your pets, the court may be more willing to award you custody of your animals once your divorce is complete.
Being able to retain custody of your pets following the finalization of your divorce is important. Be sure that you are prepared to establish ownership, prove your involvement in your pet's care, and show an emotional need when fighting for custody of your pets in the future. Contact a lawyer like Meg Razi Attorney for more information and assistance.