You may consider your pet a member of the family, but when it comes to divorce law your pet may become the focus of a property dispute.
Step 1: Show proof of ownership Show your spouse, lawyer, and the court proof that you owned the pet before the marriage. In most cases, if you owned the pet before you married, then you will retain your pet.
Step 2: Negotiate with your spouse If a pet is acquired during a marriage, in most states the law considers the pet as jointly-owned property. Find out if your spouse wants the pet. If not, the pet is yours.
TIP: If your pet generates income, future income may have to be shared with the non-custodial spouse.
Step 3: Talk to your divorce lawyer Talk to your lawyer because your pet will be part of the disputed property if your spouse seeks custody of the pet.
Step 4: Prove you were the primary caretaker You are more likely to get custody of your pet if you can prove you were the one who actually cared for the pet during the marriage.
Step 5: Consider the children Remember that the parent who has custody of the children stands a better chance of getting the family pet. If they' have a bond with the animal, think of their needs.
FACT: Hotelier and real estate magnate Leona Helmsley left $12 million to her dog, Trouble.