Sheldon E. Finman, P.A.
Call 239-215-4952 To Talk To A Lawyer Today.

When a Florida couple has pets, the love and care that is provided is often similar to the love of a child. People spend enormous volumes of time, effort and money to care for their animals and often become incredibly attached. When a union ends in divorce, spouses can become deeply bitter over having to determine which party should retain "custody" of the pets. The matter falls outside the scope of traditional divorce issues such as property division or child custody.

Courts are not always willing to address disputes concerning pets. In many cases, family court judges who are faced with such arguments will simply tell the parties to go and work the matter out on their own. When judges are willing to discuss the issue, they resort to the rules that govern property division.

In this way, the party who can prove that he or she paid for an animal, covered the cost of veterinary care or purchased the bulk of food and toys will often prevail in court. That approach does not address which party would be better suited to actually care for the pets. While many people feel that pet "custody" should be approached in a manner similar to child custody, it is the rare judge who will entertain such arguments.

This leaves Florida pet owners with little recourse other than to try and work through the issue of pet ownership on their own. In some cases, divorcing spouses are able to work out a type of shared custody, where each party will have time with the animal and where expenses are shared. Often, however, the better solution is to look at the living arrangements of both parties and to make an objective decision about which household is better suited to provide for the needs of the pet. That approach is likely to yield a far better outcome than including the issue within the scope of property division.

Source: The Charlotte Observer, "In divorce, who gets to keep the family dog?", Ben Steverman, May 1, 2016

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Schedule A Consultation

Learn more about our problem-solving based approach to divorce. Call 239-215-4952 to talk to an attorney.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Fort Myers Family Law

Sheldon E. Finman, P.A.
2134 McGregor Boulevard
Fort Myers, FL 33901

Toll Free: 877-214-3207
Phone: 239-332-4543
Fax: 239-334-7828
Map & Directions

mapView Map & Directions