Who gets the Pet in a Divorce?

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A new law in California just passed that changes how pet custody is handled in divorce cases.
Previously, in the eyes of the court, pets were considered “property” when it comes to splitting up assets in a divorce and the ownership of the pet was argued in this way.

The new Bill, which will go into effect in 2019 and written by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, will ensure care of a pet is taken into consideration both while divorce proceedings are underway and after they’re made official. Now, the courts will take into consideration the well-being of the pet.

When asked about the reason for the bill, Quirk said “There is nothing in statute directing judges to treat a pet differently from any other type of property we own…As a proud parent of a rescue dog, I know that owners view their pets as more than just property. They are part of our family, and their care needs to be a consideration during divorce proceedings.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the San Diego Humane Society are both supporters of this new law.

However, there is opposition to this new, pet-friendly law. The Association of Certified Family Law Specialists registered opposition with the State legislature. Their reasoning: Divorces already face delays and many contentious issues. “By adding in sole or joint ownership of pet animals as a determination courts can make in divorce proceedings, the already backlogged family court proceedings may become even more delayed as judges consider the myriad of factors that come into play when making decisions about community property division and child custody”

If you are going through a divorce, it is always a good idea to consult a lawyer to help you understand the complexities of the law and ensure you are protecting yourself. As January 1st, 2019 approaches, many new laws (including a tax law that will affect spousal support) will go into effect that may have an effect on your divorce, legal separation or paternity case. Hiring a lawyer to help you through this emotional time is essential for a positive outcome.

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Don’t go through your divorce, legal separation or paternity case alone. The Law Offices of Doppelt and Forney, APLC are here to help you through this difficult time. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys, never a paralegal or legal assistant. Call us today and feel peace of mind tonight. We serve clients throughout the San Diego metropolitan area, including clients residing in Chula Vista, Carlsbad, Coronado, La Mesa, Vista, La Jolla, Del Mar, Ramona, Oceanside, Point Loma, and other nearby municipalities.

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