Can I keep my cat and dog when I divorce?
If you and your spouse in Ohio have one or more pets, you may well feel a strong connection to these members of your family. If you and your spouse make the choice to get divorced, you will then need to figure out which one of you will take the pets. When both people in a marriage want to keep a family pet after a divorce, the process of deciding who gets the pet can be tough.
According to Pew Trusts, the number of pet custody cases in the United States has increased. A 2014 study conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers cited a jump in these matters by more than 20%. More and more, people are refusing to allow their pets to be treated like mere pieces of furniture or other household items.
In fact, Illinois, Alaska and California have even passed laws that provide guidance on how pet custody should be determined. Other states may well eventually enact similar statutes. In the meantime, cases may be evaluated based on the best interests of the pet and review who has historically taken on the bulk of the responsibility for the pet. This includes feeding, walking, litter box cleaning, managing vet visits or other health concerns, and more. Some couples opt to share custody of their pets and allow pets to go back and forth between homes with their kids.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give divorcing spouses in Ohio an idea of how they may determine where their pet or pets will live after their divorce has been finalized.