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Custody of Pets

When a couple a separates, there can often be questions regarding what happens to the pets. Pets are a very important part of many people’s lives. Traditionally under the law, pets are considered personal property and the court will not make “custody orders” for pets. Rather, the Court will simply assign one person or the other ownership and control of the pet.

However, recently the law has begun to recognize that pets are more than just another piece of property. In fact, California now has a law (California Family Code Section 6320) that protects domestic animals if there is a reason to believe one of the parties may cause harm to the pet. If a Court must decide ownership of a pet, the interests of the pet are usually taken into consideration.

The experienced dog and pet custody attorneys in Santa Monica at Trabolsi & Levy, LLP can help craft creative solutions to issues involving pets. If parties are able to agree on a “shared custody” arrangement for pets, most family court judges in California will sign off on the agreement. Having the care of the family pets written into the settlement and order is the best way to avoid future conflict.