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Fighting like cats and dogs over pet custody

There is an old saying that some married couples fight like cats and dogs, meaning that they regularly have heated disputes. In some cases, those repeated disagreements will lead to divorce and even more arguments over who is to get custody of the family’s cats and dogs.

A recent news article pointed out disagreements over pet custody are surfacing in more and more divorces in Lake Charles and across the nation. While some non-pet-owners might find these disputes frivolous or even entertaining, those who love their pets and consider them members of the family understand that disagreements over pet custody can be serious matters.

While many people consider their pets to be family members, Louisiana courts hearing divorces do not. Courts consider pets to be forms of property and as such, are subject to our community property laws. In other words, our laws provide that all assets and debts a couple acquires during their marriage belong equally to the spouses.

That means that a couple who can’t agree on who gets the pets will leave it up to the court to decide. Of course, most couples will be able to work out a property division agreement with their family law attorneys and without intervention from a judge.

However, it should be noted that if you acquired your pet before your marriage, the pet will stay with you after the divorce – and the same holds true for your ex.

A prenuptial agreement can also be handy in deciding who will get physical custody of the pet in the event of a marital split.

You can discuss these and other matters with a Lake Charles attorney experienced in family law.

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