“Pet Custody” Law in California and How Does It Work?

May 24, 2019
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Pet laws in California are quite the same like that of any property law and they are treated as such. It also means that there is no need for further investigation as property remains as something similar to any other movable or immovable item. For this reason under any dispute a pet may be considered either a separate property or shared property and accordingly verdict is passed by court of law. This however, may mean that a pet doesn’t enjoy any right based on its own well-being or that of emotional tangles that may be involved between two owners of the stated property.

In this context, judges, in recent times, during verdicts have exercised caution and slight prudence when considering the actual well-being of the pet from one over the other owner during a divorce case or sharing the pet between them as mutually acceptable solutions.

This means that although the pet is considered as a property, the judges too are quite wary of the fact that one or both parties to a divorce case may actually have close and emotional feelings towards their pet. It also followed that the pet may not be replaced or reimbursed for an amount as one would do to a property.

Significance of Relationship with Pet

It is now quite common for judges in California to understand the emotional part of the pet with that of its owners. This meant that when couples file for divorce they are given the choice of custody arrangement of their pet or pets. Pets may be dogs, cats, guinea pigs, constrictor pythons, lizards and other small animals that are within the permit of being called pets under the law.

Due to separate nature and behavior of pets with emotional behavior of owners towards them it is generally seen that judges make note of this special relationship while coming with a verdict during divorce or other disputes. It is generally seen that court of law may take due consideration to the fact that the true owner of a pet is that person who has purchased the same. It may also include food expenses, medical expenses and other expenses that the owner had to undergo while keeping the pet and the resulting compensation arising out of divorce between couples.

The court may also give due consideration to the fact as to whether one owner was more caring by nature over the other. This may mean going for long walks and spending more time with it as well as taking care of its hygiene. This may make the verdict of possession of pet in favor of that person.

Merits of Custody of Pets in California Courts

Although Family Court 6320 provides for safety of pets the primary caregiver and that is you stand to have a distinct advantage over other party when it thinks that you have done your best for the well-being of the pet.

It may be to your disadvantage before the Court of Law if you have taken extreme steps of stealing your pet from your spouse when the latter has filed a divorce case. Perhaps you may want to ensure that your pet is safe hands yet this may surely backfire when court proceedings take place.

Again, the court may find it that both the persons have great liking for their pet and may order sharing for a definite period of time between them. This may be monthly or weekly as the court thinks fit. Here, value to both parties is determined by the judge and that the pet is having far more than ordinary monetary value alone.

In case you have doubts you may contact one of the several divorce attorneys in California and get an amicable settlement from the court. As far as the pets are concerned you may even go for a mutually acceptable option for sharing one or more your pets if you talk over the matter with your partner who has filed for divorce.


Pets are therefore not considered as mere property, but they have to be looked from other angles so that you ultimately find a secure and safe place for your pet to stay during and after a divorce settlement. What you need is to get an experienced lawyer who will guide you through the whole proceedings without further hassles.