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Avoid a pet custody battle

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2022 | Divorce

Considering pets in divorce?

Ending a marriage or relationship may be an emotional process. Deciding who will keep the family’s pets may add further emotional turmoil.

There is no such thing as “pet custody” in Indiana

Indiana and 46 other states do not recognize a family’s emotional bond with their pets in the sense of “pet custody.” In a divorce, a pet is treated as another piece of property that must be allocated to a spouse.

So what will happen to your pet?

You and your soon-to-be-former-spouse will have to decide who keeps the family’s pets. If you cannot agree, a court will decide who keeps them. Although a pet may be invaluable to you, the value of a pet in a judge’s eyes will typically be replacement value, as it would be with any other personal property.

Can we agree to share our pet, after divorce?

Parties can agree to do things, such as share a pet after divorce, even if a Court would not order it. However, it is unclear whether an Indiana Court would enforce a “pet sharing” agreement if one party fails to abide by its terms. For this reason, if you have a beloved pet and are going through a divorce or legal separation, you should discuss your options with an experienced family law attorney.