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Pet Custody – Who Gets The Pets When You Divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2019 | Firm News |

Pet Custody: What Happens To Your Pets When You Decide To End Things?

 

Who owns pets today? about everyone and one of the long-term demographic trends. nationwide is that individuals are waiting longer to get married and waiting longer to have children. As a result of this change, individuals are spending more money. and more time with animals – whether they are dogs, cats, reptiles, birds, or fish. . the pet industry over this period of time has expanded . from premium food for pets to mobile grooming to natural products for pets. As these changes have occurred, so have the laws regarding Pet Custody. 

 

California Pet Custody Laws

 

One of the cutting edge areas of the law is allowing for custody rights for pet owners in a dissolution. Before 2019, when looking at the custody of beloved animals. the law had a draconian approach – pets treated as property. Like any other piece of property, the public policy of the state was to divide the pets by value. But while dividing a television’s value can done in any forum. Dividing the value of a pet was always much more difficult. Because of the gap between the law and the rights of animals and pet owners. California Assembly Bill 2274 proposed to amend the Family Code. And signed into law by Governor Brown in 2018. 

 

On January 1, 2019, AB 2274 became the law of California, and added Section 2605 to the California Family Code, which states the following:

 

“The court, at the request of a party to proceedings for dissolution of marriage or for the legal separation of the parties. may enter an order, before the final determination of the ownership of a pet animal, to must a party to care for the pet animal. The existence of an order providing for the care of a pet animal during the course of proceedings. for dissolution of marriage or for the legal separation of the parties. must not have any impact on the court’s final determination of the ownership of the pet animal.
 
(b) In spite of any other law, including, but not limited to, Section 2550. the court, at the request of a party to proceedings for dissolution of marriage or for the legal separation of the parties. may assign sole or joint ownership of a pet animal taking into consideration the care of the pet animal.

 

(c) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

 

(1)“Care” includes, but is not limited to. The prevention of acts of harm or cruelty, as described. In Section 597 of the Penal Code. the provision of food, water, veterinary care, and safe and protected shelter.

 
(2) “Pet animal” means any animal that community property and kept as a household pet.”

 

What does the California Family Code Section 2605 mean?

 

What California Family Code Section 2605 means is that now, during a dissolution proceeding, a Court may enter custodial orders for pets. in the same fashion as entering custodial orders for minors. Like minors, the Family Court will guided by the “best interest” of the pet. and will ensure that neither owner left as the “out” spouse in having contact or care of a long-beloved animal. The new section also ensures the safety and well-being of pets. in the event that one party is not caring for the animal or animals. And may even issue a restraining order against the other party to prevent the abuse or abduction of the pet.

 

How does the court decide who will receive custody?

 

Custody decisions are based on many factors that will be taken into account, including who purchased the animal, who will reside in the animal’s current residence, who bought the animal, who pays for most of its needs and, most importantly, who provides the greatest emotional attachment to the animal. Like many things in dissolution, custody of animals can be a contentious issue; but with the proper assistance, these issues can be resolved like every problem. Your San Diego pet custody lawyer may be able to help you provide evidence to show that you have the greatest attachment to your animal.

 

Contact a San Diego Divorce & Family Law Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

 

At Sunnen Law, we understand how important pets are and we will do everything possible to ensure a positive outcome for everyone involved in the process. The Sunnen Law Firm represents clients in all types of situations during the divorce process. If you are concerned with the custody of your pet,  please call 619.255.9551 or contact us online to discuss how we can help you.