Focused Family Law Advocacy In Tuscaloosa And Surrounding Counties

Will I lose my pet during divorce?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2020 | Property Division |

There is something truly special about the bond between pet owners and their four legged friends. Anything that compromises that relationship can be extremely distressing, but that is exactly what divorcing couples have to deal with in those circumstances. Pets are still considered to be property in Alabama family courts, so there is not much precedent for sharing ownership after divorce.

Since pets are legally considered property, people are expected to deal with their animals during property division. This is far from ideal for most pet parents who consider their dogs, cats and even snakes as members of the family. In a survey from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 27% of respondents said they had seen more and more couples battling it out over pet ownership.

Dog owners seem to be the most passionate. Of all the pet custody disputes that end up in court, 88% involve dogs. Cats account for only 5% of court cases, another 1% involve horses and the final 6% are over other animals like snakes. But no matter if a pet has paws, hooves or scales, it is clear that people love their pets and are willing to fight for them.

Pet parents do not have to end up in court, though. Although people in Alabama tend to associate prenuptial agreements with lots of wealth, they can also be used for pet custody. Sometimes referred to as pup nups, these agreements address how couples intend to share custody after divorce. Most pet owners also choose to sort out the financial side of things, like who is responsible for veterinary bills, dog food and more.