Who Gets Custody Of The Pets In A Divorce?
Today’s question comes to us from Danielle and her question deals with her family pet. She and her husband married 10 years ago and at the beginning of the marriage, they purchased a puppy. Danielle really wanted a puppy. They’re not able to have children.
This puppy, as most of you know, is very emotionally attached and Danielle is very emotionally attached to the dog. The dog is part of their family, It is not considered a dog, but an extension of their family, like Danielle’s baby. She cares for this dog, receives a lot of emotional support from this dog and she goes everywhere with this dog. She’s very bonded with the dog.
Now the couple is going through a divorce and her husband is stating that he wants custody of this dog. Danielle is asking me “how can that be when I purchased the puppy “and it is my dog?”
So, unfortunately, even though most people have an emotional attachment to their pets and they are considered part of the family, Nevada law does not see it that way. Nevada law sees an animal as part of community property. It is property to be equally or equitably divided upon divorce. Therefore, because of community property laws, this dog is owned equally by both parties, 50/50 shares.
When a court is dividing assets and debts in a divorce, an animal, in this instance, their dog, will be a property that will need to be equally or equitably divided. That being said, the court does listen to testimony about one party being more bonded and taking care of the animal than the other and they might take that into consideration when dividing the property of the couple’s marital estate.
In this situation, if Danielle can prove to the court that she in fact was the one bonded with the animal, was the one taking care of the animal and the spouse was not, there might be an offset in the division of property to equal that of Danielle getting the dog.
For the bottom line, in Nevada, your pets are considered property that is subject to equitable or equal division during a divorce. I hope that this answers this question. If you want to discuss this a little bit further, please go to vegasdivorcemeeting.com. I’ll be more than happy to sit down with you to discuss this question with you.
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