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Protecting What Matters Most

How are pets treated in a Rhode Island divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2021 | Blog, Child Custody & Support, Property Division

Rhode Island pet parents might be conflicted as to what happens to their pets after they get divorced. It’s important to learn how the law handles pets during the divorce process.

Why do divorced people argue over their pets?

Increasingly, couples all around the United States are putting off having children. There are a multitude of reasons for this, from interpersonal to financial reasons. Regardless of their reasons for not having children, many people will bring pets into their home. These pets often hold a special place in couple’s hearts, which makes it even harder to decide who keeps the pet in a divorce.

It might seem silly to discuss custody options for pets, but for many people in Rhode Island, their pets are a part of their family. Increasingly, lawyers are seeing a trend where couples get into arguments about who gets their pets.

How is this being handled?

In some cases, dogs are treated like children. Joint custody agreements are made so that one pet parent has sole custody while the other has visitation rights part time.

As part of this process, it’s spelled out who’s responsible for what bills related to the pet. The agreements will also address the standard of care that the pet will receive when with either parent.

For animals that are harder to transport than dogs, such as cats or animals that reside in tanks, visitation rights might not be possible. In most cases, animals are treated more like property, and it will come down to who’s put the most money and energy into the pet than anything else.

What problems do pet parents face?

Since pets are treated like property in most divorces, the well-being of the pet isn’t automatically taken into consideration. It’s up to the client and their lawyer to argue in the best interest of pets.