But Who Gets the Pets??
A new law just went into effect in California relating to pets in divorce. Assembly Bill 2274, written by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, allows a family law court to enter orders in a divorce case about who will get to care for pets during a divorce and their custody arrangements after a divorce is finalized.
Prior to this law, pets were treated like any other piece of property. So, just like a couch, a pet was awarded in a divorce as belonging to a specific person.
The passage of this new law will means that a court can enter orders for joint ownership. Factors that determine who will get custody of the pet include past care of the pet, which is defined to include “prevention of acts of harm or cruelty” and “the provision of food, water, veterinary care and safe and protected shelter.” The law also adds a the ability of one party to request an order that would allow them to care for the pet prior to the divorce becoming final.
This interesting new law allows the court to place much greater emphasis on what is good for the pet, rather than treating it like any other asset to be divided.