Your love your pet, and you also recognize that your pet also comes with financial costs and daily caretaking responsibilities. Many people worry about what will happen to their beloved dog, cat, or other pet during a divorce. As your trusted legal counselors, the family law attorneys at The Cronin Law Firm will help you resolve all matters related to your divorce, including what happens to your family pets.

Pets Are Considered Property in Michigan

You, your ex-spouse, or both of you may consider your pet to be a family member. However, the court considers your pet to be property. Therefore, Michigan child custody laws do not apply to pets. The court will follow the division of property laws if you and your spouse disagree about what should happen to your pet.

The court will not consider the best interests of the dog, cat, or other pet. Instead, if the court has to decide who gets the pet, the court will include the pet in your equitable distribution of property. Accordingly, the court may consider:

Additionally, the court may include the value of your pet with the rest of your property and divide all of your marital property equitably, considering things such as:

Of course, a pet’s value is largely emotional. Financially, a pet may be more of a burden than an asset.

Options to Consider When Deciding Pet Ownership During a Divorce

Sometimes spouses can negotiate pet ownership before the court gets involved. In these cases, you may decide that the pet:

If you have more than one pet, you may make different arrangements for each pet, depending on each person’s attachment to the pet, living arrangement, and ability to care for the pet. Some of the things you may consider include:

Talk to Your Michigan Divorce Lawyer About Your Priorities

In recent years, other states, such as Illinois, have changed their laws and will now consider the pet’s well-being during divorce proceedings. While Michigan law still treats pets as property, our Bloomfield Hills divorce attorneys understand how much your pet means to you and we will do everything that we can to help you protect your pet during a divorce.

Call us, text us, or complete our contact form today to schedule a complimentary consultation with a compassionate and experienced divorce lawyer.

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