While you are going through a divorce and making sure everything is being identified and equally distributed, you may be wondering which spouse gets to keep the dog, cat, or other pets. In this article, The Law Office of James A. Graham will do our best to explain how the process works. Our goal is to make your divorce more understandable and easier for you.
There are a few different factors that will be considered when deciding who gets the dog during a divorce. These factors include the following:
- If there are children, are they emotionally attached to the dog? If they are and it will cause emotional stress on the child to separate them, this will be considered when determining who gets the dog.
- Was the dog acquired or purchased before or after the marriage took place? If it was after the marriage took place, it will need to be determined who purchased the dog. The individual who paid for the dog or its care will most likely get to keep the dog.
- Is the dog an emotional support animal for someone? If the dog is an emotional support animal for someone, they most likely will need to stay with that individual to help them cope with anxiety, stress, or disabilities.
- Who has been taking care of the pet? This means taking the pet to the vet, grooming the pet, feeding it, and taking it for a walk.
- Which individual has more time to give to the pet? This is very important as the Judge will not want to place the dog with an owner who does not have the proper time to handle its needs.
- Who has enough space for the dog? All dogs need a sufficient amount of space to thrive in their environment. Therefore, this will be a huge consideration when deciding who gets to keep the dog.
- Does anyone have a history of animal abuse? If an individual has a history of animal abuse, the dog will not go to that home.
There are several different arguments to be considered when deciding who gets to keep the dog. If you think you have a compelling case, you will need to present it to your attorney.
Is there a pet prenup option available in Louisiana?
While some states do have a pet prenup, Louisiana does not practice this. According to The Advocate, the law in Louisiana states that “a pet brought into a marriage belongs to the person who owned it before the wedding.” However, even though the law is clear on this, it does not mean that dogs, cats, and other pets do not come up in divorce cases. The reason for this is because even if the couple has grown apart, their love for their pets remains.
What will happen if you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on who gets the dog?
If you and your spouse cannot agree on who gets the dog, a Judge may get involved. Disputes about pets can be ongoing and cause stress for the entire family. Therefore, it is not uncommon for a Judge to step in and decide who will get the pet. However, by choosing to hire an attorney who is experienced in these types of issues, you may be able to save yourself the trouble of going to a court hearing.
Can I get custody of the family dog?
The state of Louisiana believes that pets are property, making it where Judges cannot view dogs as a custody matter. This means that most couples are required to decide what happens to their dog, just like they will need to decide what happens with their home, furniture, cars, and other property. While it can be devastating for one spouse to lose their pet, they usually understand and purchase a new pet to help them get over their loss.
In addition, most clients accept the fact that their pets prefer one spouse over the other, making it easier for them to let go. Taking the time to assess your pet’s feelings is important because you would not want to force them to live with an owner that they do not prefer.
Can we decide to share the dog?
It is not unheard of to share a dog after a divorce. If you and your ex-spouse decide to do this, it will need to be a decision made on your own. If one spouse does not keep up their part in continuing to share the dog, this can become complicated as pets are not considered custody matters, meaning sharing cannot be enforced.
The court will most likely not get involved and force anyone to share the dog after divorce. To prevent further complications from arising, it is suggested to be prepared to make a decision on who the dog will ultimately reside with.
If you are going through a divorce and a complication like who gets the dog comes up, consider reaching out to The Law Office of James A. Graham. We have an office in New Orleans and Slidell for your convenience. Our lawyers will help you resolve this issue with careful thought and consideration. We understand how stressful the thought of losing your family pet can be, which is why our attorneys handle these cases with care and compassion. We will do our best to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible for you. Fill out our contact form today, and our team will get started on your case at our earliest opportunity. No matter how difficult your situation may seem, you can rest assured knowing our law office can handle it.