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Tips for keeping your pet during divorce

There are so many consequential aspects to a divorce. Who gets custody of the kids? What happens to the family home or car? Another important consideration is who gets to keep the pet. And thanks to a new law in California, the courts treat pets more like children than property in divorce proceedings. 

So, how can you fight to maintain ownership of your beloved dog or cat? Here are some ways to argue that it is best if the pet lives with you after the end of your marriage. 

Gather documents

Is there paperwork that proves you are the original owner or primary caretaker of the pet? Adoption papers, vet receipts and pet store receipts can prove you are the pet provider and responsible for care. 

Organize pictures

Photographic evidence can be useful for determining pet custody. Are there plenty of pictures of you with your pet over a long period of time? Photographs serve as clear proof of a meaningful relationship with your dog or cat.

Ability to provide a home

One core factor in determining pet custody is whether there is a suitable home. If you own your own house and keep it in the settlement, this is in your favor. But if you rent an apartment, you may need to show the lease allows you to keep the pet. 

Proof of adequate space

If you own a cat or small dog, this is not as much of an issue. But if you own a large dog, showing you have enough space with a yard can help. 

Sufficient time to provide care

The court will want to see that your work schedule permits you to properly care for your pet. This may not be a huge deal with a cat, but it is different with a dog. 

Ultimately, the court wants to determine what is best for your pet. This may mean some type of shared custody arrangement.

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