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It is normal for California families to own pets inside the household. These pets are treasured by each family member and are a part of the family. However, the situation may become difficult if the couple files for divorce.

Fremont readers may know that resolving property division in a California divorce can be complex. California is a community property state where the property obtained during marriage can be equitably divided between spouses. Properties such as business assets, artwork and retirement accounts can be subject to equitable division. However, when it comes to family pets, the animals can be considered personal property that may be included in the division.

The case of a couple fighting over who keeps the family pet may be likely happen in California and other parts of the country. For example, when a Florida couple ended their marriage of 18 years, pet custody became one of the issues in the separation. Accordingly, the family dog named Brewer was affected by the couples' split. The dog underwent separation anxiety after the divorce. Due to this, both parties settled with respect to who would get custody of the dog.

As a result, both parties made an agreement and arrangements. The agreement was included in the divorce terms wherein the former husband is in charge of paying medical expenses as well as the basic necessities for the dog. The other spouse became the primary caretaker of the couple's pets. The couple's attorney also added that because pet issues in divorce tend to be more common today, it is advisable for couples to address the issue.

Determining custody of the pet in a divorce can be complicated for spouses because they are emotionally attached to the pets. In some cases, a court decision on pet custody considers various factors such as children and the ability of the spouse to take care of the pets. Cases like these may vary based on the state or county and the parties involved.

Additionally, spouses may settle pet custody if there is a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement involved. These agreements may specifically explain the exclusion of the pets from property division as well as the rights and obligations of each spouse toward the pets.

Source: CBS12, "Pet Prenup: Couple Battles Over Who Gets Family Pet, "Jenna Caiazzo, Jan. 15, 2013

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