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Will you keep the family pet after your divorce?

You love your pet. Most people do. You are getting ready to go through the divorce process and you want to know if you will get to keep your pet. Here is what Pennsylvania law has to say about pet custody.

Pet custody is not something that the state recognizes. Animals are considered property and nothing more. This means a pet will simply be awarded to either party as part of a divorce agreement. That may seem wrong, but it is what it is under current state laws.

You may be able to keep your pet if you and your spouse can come to terms on what to do with the animal without going to court. If you cannot, you may be able to keep your pet if you can prove to a judge that the animal was yours before marriage, was a gift to you after marriage or that the animal would benefit from living with you as opposed to your soon-to-be ex. While courts in Pennsylvania will not grant custody or visitation schedules regarding pets the same way that they will with children, the best interests of the animal may be considered before awarding it to either party.

If your pet is more than an animal in your eyes but a member of the family, it is understandable that the thought of losing your pet in the divorce process may be more than you can bear. With the assistance of legal counsel, you can take steps to fight for your pet and anything else you believe should be included in your property division settlement. To learn more about how property division works in Pennsylvania, please visit our firm's website.

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