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Where Does Your Pet Go When You Get Divorced?

During a divorce, clients are often concerned about protecting their most valuable assets including their homes, cars, retirement accounts, and … pets? “But wait,” you may be thinking. “Fido is a member of our family! I’ve had him for 10 years and she even has her own spot on the bed!” I know. Believe me.

Colorado Considers Pets to be Physical Assets

Although many people consider pets to be part of the family, not possessions, Colorado case law and statutes routinely refer to pets as property. This means that the court will treat the family dog/cat like an asset subject to equitable division. Therefore, the parties cannot petition the court for an allocation of pet parental responsibilities, as they would for their human children. The court will not create or enforce a pet parenting plan. Instead, the court will hear evidence regarding the nature of the property including whether the pet was a gift or acquired before the marriage. However, when a pet is clearly a marital asset, some judges may be inclined to hear evidence regarding the nature of the pet’s bond with each spouse.

Need Help Determining What Will Happen to Your Pet?

There are many legal tools to protect pets in the event of dissolution of marriage. An attorney with experience handling pet issues can assist in creating an appropriate legal strategy regarding family pets.

If you, or someone you know, need help with a divorce involving children or pets, call for a free consultation with one of our divorce attorneys. Modern Family Law has the experience you need to feel comfortable moving forward.

Posted January 11, 2015
by: MFL Team

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