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Who gets the pets in a divorce?

The family pet is yet another issue in a divorce that many couples may not think about until the process is underway. Pets are generally thought of as property. They are considered the same as a car or an antique dresser. In Louisiana, the courts follow general property rules when determining pet custody, according to The Advocate.

The court will look at the facts of ownership when determining who gets a pet. For example, if you owned the dog before you were married, then it is your dog and you will get it in the divorce. However, there are also situations where you may not get the dog even if you bought it, such as if you bought it for your spouse as an intended gift.

Pet custody is never considered in the same way as child custody. This is because of the state law classifying pets as property. The emotional ties really cannot play into the court's decision. The court also will not set up visitation schedules for pets. You can do that between you and your ex, but the court will not do it.  If you go to court and let the court decide who gets the pet, the court will trace it back to who bought the dog. If the dog, for example, was given as a gift, then whoever was gifted the dog is considered the owner.

The best thing to do when it comes to pets in a divorce is to work together to figure out what is best. You should try to set up visitation or agree on who will get the dog. It is much easier than having the court take away all options by giving the dog to just one of you, especially if you both care about the dog. This information is for education only and is not legal advice.

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