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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > What Happens To Family Pets In A Fort Lauderdale Divorce?

What Happens To Family Pets In A Fort Lauderdale Divorce?


Pets tend to hold a special place in our hearts. Whether a dog, cat, bird, fish, or other type of animal, your pet likely provides a source of comfort and companionship. If you are going through or considering a divorce in Fort Lauderdale, you may have serious concerns about what will happen to your pet in the aftermath. Our Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer explains how the family court views pets and factors a judge will consider in determining who has the rights to them in a final divorce order.

Pets Are Considered Property In A Fort Lauderdale Divorce

For most people, pets are more like beloved family members and friends rather than merely animals. They often expect pets to be treated similarly to children in Fort Lauderdale divorce proceedings. However, under the Florida Statutes, pets are considered property. As such, they are subject to the same rules of equitable division.

Equitable division means that rather than dividing homes, cars, furniture, money in bank accounts, and other assets evenly between the spouses, the court seeks arrangements that are fair to both. In dealing with parents, the court is unlikely to require you and your soon-to-be-former spouse to share the care of pets moving forward. Instead, expect that one of you will be named as the rightful owner moving forward. Some of the factors the court will consider in making this decision include:

  • Whether the pet was obtained during or prior to your marriage (premarital property is generally exempt from equitable division);
  • The amount of money paid for the pet and invested into it over the years;
  • Whether you or your spouse is the primary caregiver;
  • Whether you have children, who would likely suffer if separated from the pet.

Protecting Your Rights To Pets In A Fort Lauderdale Divorce

Pets can provide a source of comfort, companionship, and protection. The thought of losing ownership of a pet due to a Fort Lauderdale divorce is devastating to many people. It is important to be aware of factors the Broward County Family Court is likely to consider in determining what happens to a pet after a divorce. Evidence that can help protect your rights regarding pets in Florida divorce proceedings includes:

  • Veterinary records showing you as the primary pet owner;
  • Statements from friends and family members stating that you assumed the duty of their care;
  • Certifications showing your pet acts as a comfort or support animal;
  • Statements from trainers or others involved that attest to the amount of time and money you invested in your pet.

Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer And Request A Consultation

Issues concerning pets can quickly become a battleground in divorce proceedings. To protect your rights to dogs, cats, or other family pets, get the trusted legal guidance you need from the law office of Vanessa L. Prieto. We provide caring support and professional legal representation throughout the divorce process. Contact our Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer today to request a consultation.



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