If you are divorcing with your pets in tow, then you may be happy to hear about a change that has just occurred. In California, pets are being seen as more than property by the courts.

That means that they won’t simply be split up as assets in the future. No, instead, the care of the pet is going to be considered when people are divorcing.

What does that mean for your pet?

The first consideration is for the ongoing care of the pet. If you and your spouse can agree to sole or joint ownership, then the court can approve it. However, if not, the court will look at who cared for the pet the most, who paid for vet visits and who was there when the pet was in the home.

The court wants to prevent acts of harm or cruelty and make sure the pet has the option to see a veterinarian as well as to get the food, water and shelter it needs.

Why is this a change?

In the past, pets were treated as property, no different from furniture in the home. Their monetary worth was considered, but then they’d be given to one individual or the other depending on negotiations. Today, it’s clear that pets are so much more than just an object to possess. The laws now reflect that and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2019. This tough topic for pet owners should be easier to stomach in court now, all thanks to the hard work of those looking out for the animals’ best interests.

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