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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > Disputes Over Pets Common In Fort Lauderdale Divorce Proceedings

Disputes Over Pets Common In Fort Lauderdale Divorce Proceedings


Dogs, cats, birds, and other types of animals are often considered beloved family members, rather than just pets. This can pose potentially heart-breaking problems in Broward County divorce proceedings. Our Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer explains how pets are generally viewed by the court and your options in dealing with any disputes that arise with your spouse over ownership rights.

Dealing With Family Pets In Your Divorce 

 If you own any type of pet and are considering getting a divorce in Fort Lauderdale, it is important to be aware of your rights regarding ownership. You may consider your pets to be similar to children, but under Florida Statutes, they are considered property and subject to the rules of equitable division.

Rather than dividing marital property or assets evenly between the two spouses, the court aims for equitable distribution. In making these arrangements, there are numerous factors to consider. When it comes to determining ownership of a pet post-divorce, common issues in these proceedings include:

  • Whether the pet was purchased, given to you, or otherwise acquired during the marriage: This means that they are marital property and subject to equitable division.
  • The financial value of the pet: In dividing marital property, you need to determine the total worth of all property and assets. This includes the financial value of the pet, which could be significant in terms of pure-bred animals or rare and exotic varieties.
  • The role each party plays in providing for the pet: If the pet was primarily yours and you assumed the burden of their care, you have a better chance of being awarded full ownership of them in equitable distribution proceedings.

Resolving Disputes Concerning Pets In Your Divorce  

Trying to determine the value of a pet presents unique challenges. More than mere financials, there is the emotional connection you have with them, as well as any protection or emotional support you provide for them.

When going through a divorce in Fort Lauderdale, numerous factors can influence your rights regarding ownership of pets in the Broward Family Court. These include:


  • Whether your pet is certified as an emotional support or service animal;
  • Whether you have children, who are likely to be significantly impacted by arrangements made concerning family pets;
  • Whether you have the means to provide for the pet, in terms of money, time, and space;
  • Whether there are accusations of neglect or abuse of the pet on the part of your spouse.

Unlike when dealing with children, joint time-sharing arrangements are generally not the norm. However, this may be an option for some pet owners going through a divorce in Fort Lauderdale.

Our Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Protects Your Rights Regarding Pets

The mere thought of having to surrender your pet due to a divorce is heartbreaking. As an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer, Vanessa L. Prieto helps protect your rights in these proceedings. Give us a call or contact our office online and request a consultation to discuss your options today.




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