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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > Who Is Entitled To Pets In A Fort Lauderdale Divorce?

Who Is Entitled To Pets In A Fort Lauderdale Divorce?


Matters impacting children are among the most sensitive and potentially volatile issues dealt with in a Fort Lauderdale divorce. Emotions tend to run high in these types of cases, even if the children in question are ‘fur babies’. Pets play a major role in many people’s lives and are a source of love, comfort, and protection. Our Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer explains how the court determines who is entitled to pets and ways to protect your beloved four-legged friends.

Determining The Care And Ownership of Pets When Getting A Divorce In Fort Lauderdale

Dogs, cats, and other types of pets can play a major role in people’s lives. They often serve as best friends and are cherished members of our families. However, be aware that when getting a divorce in Fort Lauderdale, pets are considered property. This means that in determining rights to your furry friend post-divorce, the Florida Statutes dictate they be treated the same as a home, car, or other items.

However, the court does acknowledge the important role that pets can play in a person’s life. In determining your rights to a family pet in the aftermath of a divorce, the judge in your case will likely consider the following factors:

  • The financial value of your pet, based on the breed, any special skills it has, or other factors;
  • Who has been the primary caretaker of the pet during your marriage, providing for food, exercise, grooming, veterinary care, and other needs;
  • Whether the animal serves a specific role, such as being a registered service dog or an emotional support pet;
  • Whether you have children who are emotionally attached to the pet.

Protecting The Rights Of Pet Owners And Their Parents In A Fort Lauderdale Divorce

When getting a divorce through the Broward County Family Court, the rules of equitable division apply, meaning you and your spouse are entitled to your fair share. However, under state law, this only applies to property and assets accumulated during your marriage. If you owned your pet prior, it is exempt from these proceedings, and you are legally entitled to retain ownership.

If you and your soon-to-be former spouse purchased the pet together, it is important to take steps to protect your rights and your four-legged friend. This includes:

  • Provide adoption papers or other documents showing you as the primary owner;
  • Provide veterinary or grooming bills, showing you took your pet and paid for services;
  • Detail other ways in which you provided for your pet over the years;
  • Emphasize the important role your pet plays in your life or that of your children, such as providing comfort, emotional support, or protection.

Contact Our Experienced Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer

Going through a divorce is difficult enough. Thinking it could cost you your relationship with beloved pets can be especially devastating. To protect your rights and your pet in this situation, contact the law office of Vanessa L. Prieto. Request a consultation with our experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer today.




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