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Pets: Assets or family? You can fight for your pet during divorce

During a divorce one asset that might become the center of conflict is your pet. A pet, as much as people don't like to consider them so, are assets in the eyes of the court. That means that if you and your spouse can't agree on what happens to your pet, it will be divided as if it's property. A pet is not treated like a child, which means it's not typical for a court to think about the animal's custody as if it's a living thing.

That might seem unfair, but it's the current way the law works. How can you make sure your pet ends up in your arms? It might be best to work it out with your spouse or to make a strong case for your pet during settlement negotiations.

If you have a purebred, for example, he or she could be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. This is something to consider in your property division negotiations, because if you want your pet, you may need to pay for or exchange items for possession. It may be hard to place a value on your pet when it comes to sentiment, but legally, only the true dollar value of your pet will count in court.

There are a few things you can do to work out who will receive the pet following a divorce if you're unable to decide. You may allow your pet to return to the original owner who brought him or her into the family. You may also decide to allow a friend to have your pet, so you both don't argue over its well-being. Our website has more on what you can do when you're dividing your assets, so you can come to an agreement.

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