Your pet may be like your child, but in the eyes of the law, Fluffy is like any other piece of tangible property that you own. We are not trying to be cruel – we do not make the laws. What we do want you to know is that we take your attachment to your pet very seriously. On top of an already emotionally draining divorce, we know how much having your pet with you means to you and your family. That is why we work with you regarding pet custody in divorce.
Only in Alaska and Illinois do the courts consider the best interests of the pet in question. Not only do these states obligate judges to consider the well-being of the pet, but also make it possible for sole or joint custody as well as monetary “pet support.”
Here in Florida, pet custody in divorce is not part of the legal proceedings. That does not mean that you cannot negotiate the terms of custody as with any other aspect of your divorce. Your pets will fall under the category of “equitable distribution” of assets.
Determining Pet Custody in Divorce in Florida
Mediation is an excellent way to determine pet custody in divorce in Florida. It enables both parties to focus on what is best for the pet. There are no laws in Florida that grant visitation or support for pets after a divorce. That can lead to considerable stress for both parties. The person who no longer has custody of the pet can experience feelings of separation. The pet’s caretaker now has the sole burden of feeding and caring for the grooming and health needs of the pet.
Although there may be fighting and adversity during the divorce, it is especially important to realize that some pets, especially cats and dogs, have their feelings, as well. You must be aware of the emotional needs of the animal. Is your pet acting out, not eating, causing damage, or soiling the house? These are signs your pet is not adjusting to the divorce. Putting aside your anger and calmly discussing what is best for the pet may help come to a positive resolution.
If you are contemplating a divorce, with or without pets in the picture, we can help. Coral Springs attorneys Brodzki Jacobs & Brook will discuss your options and help you get the settlement that is best for you. Contact us at (954) 344-7737.