If you’re not a parent, you don’t have to worry about child custody when you get divorced. You don’t have children who are going to live with you or your ex. This massively simplifies your divorce-related needs because you’re essentially just dividing property. You don’t need to create a schedule that you’ll have to coordinate with your spouse going forward.
With that being said, perhaps you’re a pet owner. You certainly think of your pet as part of your family. What does this mean for your divorce? And do you need a custody schedule after all?
Is the pet a marital asset?
In most states, pets are generally classified as legal property. Rather than being subject to child custody regulations, they are subject to property division laws.
In other words, the court isn’t going to give you a custody plan where your pet lives with you for a week and then lives with your ex for the next week. Instead, if you litigate your divorce, the court is just going to look at whether the pet is a marital asset that you both own or a separate asset because one of you bought the pet before the marriage began or it was gifted/inherited with one party in particular in mind.
If your pet is a marital asset, then it is likely that one of you would get the pet and the other person will get an asset of equal value to satisfy property division requirements. If the two of you want to set up your own schedule and share ownership, you’re certainly allowed to do that on your own. It’s just that the court is going to look at the pet as property in the event of litigation, so it will not create this schedule for you.
What if this isn’t going to work?
It’s understandable why something like this may not be a satisfactory solution, especially if your ex is going to get your pet. You probably don’t want another asset with a similar value; the pet is worth far more to you. As a result, you’ll want to seek legal guidance to better understand all of the alternative options at your disposal.