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Who Gets to Keep the Family Pet in Florida Divorce?

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

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If you're considering filing for divorce in Florida, you probably have many questions about the process. It's a lot to sort out, from the proper documents to file to child custody questions or the asset division process. One of the things you may be wondering about is what will happen to the family pets during your divorce. Sometimes, both parties to a divorce can amicably agree on who will keep the family pets, but other times, it can become a heated dispute. This article will help you better understand what happens to pets during a divorce in Florida.

blog graphic pets and divorce who keeps the pets

Are pets considered property?

The state of Florida considers family pets to be "personal property."

Personal property is handled through the division of assets during a divorce. Deciding who gets to keep Fido or Fluffy will be dealt with, like your home, cars, and money. It may seem impersonal to you to have your pet considered an "item" to be distributed, but this is how Florida divorce courts see them.

Does Florida divorce law allow shared custody of pets?

No, the Florida divorce law does not award shared custody or any time-sharing agreement for pets. That is not to say that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can't agree on a visitation schedule outside of court. It simply means the court will not order or enforce any such thing.

Who decides which party keeps the pets in Florida Divorce?

This depends. If you and your soon-to-be ex-partner can agree, then it will be settled in your mediation agreement. The court is rarely involved in asset division unless a decision is contested by one of the parties involved. If you and your ex-spouse can't agree, the court will hear arguments from both parties on who will keep the pets moving forward.

It is important to note if a family pet was owned by one of the parties before the marriage, that party will be awarded ownership of the pet after the divorce. Assets acquired before the marriage are considered non-marital property and are considered to be the property of the spouse who owned them before the couple got married. Thus, giving an advantage to the spouse who brought the pets into the relationship.

Divorce is difficult for anyone, but it can be challenging when dealing with the legal system. It's even more personal when deciding what will become of your beloved companions. We have seen and heard everything in our team of trusted divorce lawyers in town. Let us help guide you through this process. If you need assistance ensuring a positive future for your pets, fill out our help survey to get paired up with the best divorce lawyer in town!

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