Who Gets To Keep Our Dogs When My Spouse And I Divorce In Florida?
Child custody is often very hotly contested in divorces, but many divorces also involve a heated debate about the custody of pets. Although there are numerous laws regarding how child custody is determined, the same is not true of pets.
Under the laws of Florida, and almost every other state, pets are viewed as property. As such, they are divided in a divorce like any other property. However, increasingly, judges are allowing testimony about the pets and may even make rulings involving visitation with the pets. If a court does take the time to consider who should receive the pet or how time with the pet should be shared, the court will care who cared for the pet, spent the most time with the pet, and how the pet was cared for.
However, the court may not allow testimony about a pet dispute at all - many courts simply do not have the time to involve itself in a dispute over a pet. It’s best if you and your ex can work out a plan to share time with the pet. You should also keep a regular schedule for the pet so that everyone, including the pet, can easily adjust. Also, you should expect that if your pet is going to stay at a new home, there will be a period of adjustment.
If you do decide to share the pet, you should also share expenses. If the dog is older or has special medical issues, the expenses could be significant. You may consider apportioning the expenses in the same way you share time with the dog.