A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

Apr 10, 2019

Pre-nuptial agreements for pets!

Courtesy of Google images
This year California became one, of a handful of states, to consider the best interests of a pet in divorce cases. Judges, as is the case with other property, can consider who bought, the pet, was he/she a gift, who cares for the pet, will children be negatively affected, and, other typical factors weighed when fighting over the custody of property. This is an example of the unique status of pets, who are legally property, but have some rights more akin to those of sentient beings. 

In California, judges now must take the best interests of a pet in determining sole or joint custody during a divorce or legal separation. This standard is much more significant and specific, as rather than determining custody on the bases of initial purchase, the California standard allows judges to say regardless of the above, what will be most beneficial to the pet. By the way, the judge can also determine who will care for the pet during the proceedings.

Fights over pet custody during divorce is quite common and not just an American oddity. In London, there is now an increase in resolving this issue via a pre-nuptial document - which they term a "pet-nup" in order to settle the matter before even getting into a relationship! 

And why not? Pets are people too!!

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