Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.
Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.
Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.

Pets in a divorce: Is it a custody or property division issue?

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2023 | property division | 0 comments

Nowadays, most households have at least one pet they cherish and consider a family member. There usually is no dispute when it comes to a pet’s ownership. However, it becomes a sensitive issue in a divorce. When both spouses treat their pet lovingly, like a child, confusion arises on whether the court resolves the issue during custody or property division hearings.

Pets are possessions

Though others may disagree, the law considers pets as property. This way, rules about their distribution in case of legal disputes, such as in divorces, are clear and concrete. Accordingly, Kentucky courts equitably distribute pets as marital possessions during property division in a divorce.

A determination somehow similar to custody

Kentucky laws provide a guide on how courts can distribute marital property, including a list of factors they can consider. Nonetheless, judges can weigh other relevant factors in their decision-making.

Each judge has complete discretion in how they would resolve the case involving pets. Some judges issue an order similar to parenting agreements in custody disputes based on a few unique factors, including the following:

  • Who has the main responsibility of caring for the pet
  • The attachment of the pet to each party
  • Whether it is in the spouses’ child’s best interests to bring the pet with them

Similar to custody orders, judges may assign one of the spouses as the primary custodian of the pet, while giving the other visitation rights.

Find out where you stand

Whether you will get possession of your pet during your divorce depends on the available facts and circumstances of the case. Reviewing your current standing with assistance from a property division attorney can help set expectations.


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Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.