Published on:

Can You Have Custody And Time-Sharing With Your Pet During A Fort Lauderdale Divorce?

When you hire your Broward divorce lawyer, you will most likely discuss your house, your furnishings, alimony, child support and custody and time-sharing with your children. During a Fort Lauderdale divorce, everything can become contentious. A common questioned asked to marital and family law attorneys in Fort Lauderdale relates to which spouse will ultimately get custody of the dog or cat.

In Miami-Dade and Broward, who gets the pet is a common point of contention in the office of divorce attorneys and mediators, and even sometimes in the courtroom. Most spouses manage to work out pet arrangements without the need of the Florida marital and family law judge. In Florida, judges have to follow the law related to pets. The law and case precedent state that animals are property, and that means that neither party can have custody, time-sharing, visitation or shared parental responsibility with the dog or cat. Insofar as a pet is property, it is subject to equitable distribution like all of your other assets
Just like your pension, furniture and car, pets are considered personal property, and legally, it can only be awarded to one person. If a pet is acquired during the marriage and is not a gift to one party from another person outside of the marriage, it is an asset subject to equitable distribution. In awarding the pet to one of the parties, the court will look at who spent time with the pet, fed it, cared for it, and had the closest bond with it.

Your Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer will try to keep you and your spouse from going to court about your pet. Many couples are able to work out a private or mediated agreement regarding their pet. Some couples will develop a time-sharing schedule and custody arrangement so that they can both continue to enjoy their pet. Others have included a provision that required their dog to have puppies. While divorce lawyers in Miami-Dade and Broward are divided over the enforceability of such arrangements and contracts, almost all agree that a resolution outside of the courtroom is the most prudent decision for all couples.