Animals can fill a very important role in your life. They offer unconditional love and companionship. Taking some time to pet a companion animal releases the same bonding and anti-stress hormones you would get from hugging a family member.
Your dog or cat can be an important source of support during an emotionally difficult time, like a divorce. Sadly, the relationship with your pet could potentially be at risk when you divorce. Understanding how Connecticut views animals owned by divorcing couples can help you decide what steps to take next as you prepare for divorce.
Connecticut currently treats pets like property
Although some states have adopted statutes that allow the courts to treat companion animals much like children and consider their best interests when owners divorce, Connecticut does not have one of those laws in place.
The owners of companion animals can expect a judge to treat their pets like property. Although you may view your animal as basically a four-legged child, the courts will assess the financial value for your pet and award it to one spouse or the other.
Who gets to keep the pet?
If you and your ex can’t decide how to share custody of your pet, then the courts will make a determination on that issue for you. If either of you owned the pet prior to marriage or inherited it from a family member who died, that individual may have a better chance of minding the pet.
The same may be true of a parent who has more time with the children if the kids have an attachment to the animal. Otherwise, it will come down to the decision made by a Connecticut family law judge as to who keeps the pet when you divorce.
You can settle the issue outside of court
If you really want to share custody of your pet, you may be able to make that arrangement with your ex directly. Provided that you can reach an agreement and provide information about your settlement to the courts, you can decide to share time with your pet even after a divorce.
Like the shared custody of children, shared pet custody will mean needing to see your ex frequently. You will need to decide if that is the best option for you. Understanding the rules that impact Connecticut divorces can help you set achievable goals for your future.