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Law Offices of Benita Ventresca408-395-8822
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Mediation and Litigation

Custody Battle for the Dog?

Posted on in Property Division

California property division lawyer, California divorce attorneyTo those who have never owned a pet, the idea of battling over custody over one may seem ludicrous. For the 79.2 million proud pet-owning American households, in the event of a breakup or a divorce, the future of their family member is at stake. In California family court, pets are property, but have more consideration than many other states. During property division proceedings, some pet provisions can be negotiated, similar to child custody and visitation decisions.

Establishing Primary Custody

Whether you have a rescue or a competition show animal, you understand that the bond between humans and their animals are inexplicable. Occasionally, the pet has a greater attachment to one family member, and the animal can remain in their custody after a split. Unfortunately, sometimes divorce gets ugly, and the things we love can be used against us. It is essential to demonstrate proof of a bond as well as ownership to safeguard yourself against this possibility by ensuring your name is the one consistently showing up on documents. A few ideas to help you begin a form search are:

  • Adoption papers,
  • Purchase agreement,
  • Veterinarian’s office records,
  • Receipts linking your card to supply purchases,
  • Training class information, and
  • Photographic evidence.

Pet Custodial Options

The options regarding pets are similar to those available to child custody agreements. If there is an arrangement that you both can agree on, the next step is to have it drawn up on paper to present to the judge. As long as it is legal, there should not be any reason a judge would not grant it. Arrangement options include:

  • Joint custody where you both share custody. Joint custody is beneficial if both homes and lifestyles suit the needs of the animals,
  • Full custody occurs when one pet parent has sole custody rights to the pet. This option happens if one side is not interested in keeping the animal or does not have a lifestyle to support one. Full custody may also occur if one party may harm the creature, or
  • Sole custody with visitation rights is just what it sounds like - one person may not be able to keep the family member even on a part-time basis but would still like to see them on a regular, agreed-upon basis.

A change in any situation can be stressful, but to an animal, it can be catastrophic. Today, a growing number of families are considering what happens to the pet that has been such a large part of their everyday life, even so far as establishing pet support payments. If you are a pet owner in the middle of a divorce, it may be beneficial to discuss your options with a qualified San Jose, CA family law attorney. If you are interested in discussing your choices, contact the Ventresca Law Firm today. With more than 35 years of experience assisting local clients just like you, attorney Benita Ventresca can offer options mitigate your legal situation. Call today at 408-395-8822 for your free initial consultation.



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