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Navigating Pet Custody Agreements in California

June 15, 2024, In Family Law

At WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC, our Los Angeles family lawyer knows that pets are essential to our lives. Unfortunately, when a couple co-owns a cat, dog, or another household animal, and their relationship dissolves, the pet’s future can become a point of contention.

In California, as of January 1st, 2019, when Assembly Bill 2274 was signed, pets began being treated as more than community (marital) property during a divorce. Before this law, pets were recognized as personal property and were treated as such.

Now, simply put, the pet’s best interests and future welfare will be considered while determining pet custody.

Our Los Angeles County divorce attorney helps our clients navigate the legal complexity and the emotional bonds between owners and their pets, leading to more nuanced custody arrangements.

Here, we discuss key steps and considerations for navigating pet custody agreements.

Navigating Pet Custody Agreements

What Happens If We Cannot Agree on Who Gets Our Pet During a California Divorce?

Like child custody considerations, California courts can consider the pet’s well-being when deciding where it will live.

The best approach is often to negotiate an agreement amicably with your ex-partner. Mediation can be a valuable tool to reach a mutually satisfactory arrangement without going to court to decide:

  • Ownership: Clearly state who retains ownership of the pet.
  • Living Arrangements: Specify where the pet will live and the joint custody or visitation schedule.
  • Financial Responsibilities: Detail how food, grooming, and veterinary care expenses will be divided.
  • Decision-Making: Outline how decisions regarding the pet’s health and welfare will be made.

If you cannot agree on one person getting custody of the pet or sharing custody of the pet, you can petition the court for joint or sole ownership of your animal(s).

The judge will have the authority to weigh factors such as:

  • Who adopted or purchased the pet?
  • Who buys the food and pet toys?
  • Who feeds and walks the pet?
  • Who spends more time with the pet?
  • Who takes the pet to the vet?

The best course of action is to maintain records of your involvement in the pet’s life, including veterinary visits, receipts for pet supplies, and a diary of daily care activities. This evidence can support your claim to custody or shared custody.

Consulting with our family law attorney, who has experience with pet custody cases, can provide valuable guidance and help ensure your agreement is fair and enforceable.

Contact Our Skilled Family Law Attorney in Los Angeles

Contact our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles County at WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC, by calling (310) 552-3505 to schedule a free consultation today.

We can help provide solutions that produce results.

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If you are considering a Divorce in Los Angeles, CA, Contact our experienced Attorney Today and Get a Free Consultation.

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