Your Guide Through Challenging Times

How does pet custody work in a California divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2022 | Property Division |

Through the divorce process, there is the matter of dividing everything from bank accounts and trusts all the way down to your toaster. Another source of division is the time and custody of your children.

Would you believe pets had more in common with that toaster than your children before 2019?

Old custody laws

According to the California Legislature, pets fall under the community property category—meaning the courts divided them between divorcing couples like they would a house or a car. Evaluators would determine how much the pet was worth and arrange for one spouse to receive the pet and the other spouse to receive an equivalent amount of property worth the same.

The 2019 quirk

A recent bill changed things up to allow some degree of consideration in the courts. Though this bill does not require courts to make the call, it authorizes them to rule in favor of a pet’s best interests if necessary. This is to prevent potential cruelty. It also allows the courts to decide which party cares for the pet during the divorce process.

Appeals for pet custody

Your pet may mean the world to you and during the heated process of divorce, you may worry for their safety. Either party in a divorce may request the courts to make a custody ruling in order to assign sole or joint ownership over any pets you may have.

In the event of a conflict where your ex-spouse feels they serve a pet’s best interest, it may be useful to research this topic further, lean on your resources and provide compelling evidence to the contrary.