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Who gets to keep the pet in a divorce?

Among the many challenges you may face when getting a divorce is the potential loss of your treasured pet.

If you and your spouse both want to keep your dog or cat, you may need to negotiate and figure out how to make the right choice for you and your pet.

Some states enacting pet custody laws

According to a report by Pew Trusts, a handful of states around the country have passed legislation that provides guidance to judges regarding pet custody decisions during marital divorce cases. Pets may still be considered property under the eyes of the laws, but the laws acknowledge that pets deserve a level of consideration above inanimate objects like furniture or other belongings.

Care of pet taken into consideration

When making decisions about which spouse may keep a dog, cat or other pet, a judge may evaluate a variety of factors. These include details about which person provides the greatest level of care to the pet or which spouse spends the greatest amount of time with the pet. Judges may consider who walks the dog, feeds the pet, takes the pet to vet appointments and more. The emphasis in many situations shifts from the desires of either spouse to what scenario would provide the best life for the pet in question.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give divorcing spouses in Alabama an idea about how some states approach the decision about pet custody in a divorce so they may have some guidance when making their own similar choices.