What Happens to the Family Pet in Divorce?

What happens to the family pet in a divorce? The answer may require looking beyond the present state of the law, in most states, in many cases.

As discussed in a previous post, legally, Fido is marital property, to be divided, along with the silverware and the bank account.

In reality though, every pet owner knows that a pet is entirely different, a member of the family. And no one but King Solomon would propose dividing a member of the family.

In practice, where the family has minor children, the pet normally lives with the children and the custodial parent. That rarely has to go to a judge.

But where the couple doesn’t have minor children, the law often falls short. According to this Memphis news story, it sounds like Tennessee has adopted the same rule of law as Florida.

But laws can be interpreted and applied in dramatically different ways. In this case, property division is described as being about possession and not custody.

It just looks like custody and visitation.