Do we refer to our pets as property—a piece of furniture or a lamp? Do we sleep with our furniture or lamps or call their names in bed at night? Do we take the couch for a walk or groom it regularly and lovingly with special brushes and bath soap? Do we name our furniture? Do we call ourselves mom or dad about furniture?
When we Put our pets down Aren’t we deprived of grief, tears of loss for their final rest? Do we feel the same way when we trash a couch?
We have pet cemeteries. For old used furniture, we have junk yards.
Do you own a pet or a family member? It depends on where you live.
“In law, animals were and still are considered chattel, the object of property rights. This classification does not reflect the characteristics and capacities of non-human animals which then make them unlike others. Items of property“
The classification of pets as chattel has begun to change as the characteristics of pets as unique and special members of human families have taken hold and been recognized in some states. This individuality is what separates them from furniture or objects that states have begun to recognize as legally maintainable in divorce or separation from their “keepers.”
What states consider the welfare or best interests of pets?
Only eight states consider the welfare or best interest of a pet in determining joint or sole ownership of a pet after divorce: Alaska, California, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Washington, DC. In justifying the bill, the New York Legislature argued, “For many families, pets are like children and courts should give more consideration to ensure that they are properly cared for after divorce. will be done” (Senate Introductory Memo in Support, Bill J. 2021, ch 509 at 6).
Texas and Vermont Consider special situations in a divorce involving pets. Texas generally considers pets to be community property. Vermont may consider the welfare of the animal, including its daily routine, how it is cared for and the pet’s emotional connection with the owners, and that is the best interest.
Pets are property in most states.
Most other states consider pets personal property or chattel. General leadership Because whoever bought the pet or was the pet’s primary caregiver is awarded custody. If you owned a pet before marriage, the pet is your separate property.
Litigation over pet custody.
Just like in child custody litigation, pet custody litigation requires proving that you were the animal’s primary caregiver. This requires proof of who fed the animal, who took the animal for walks, who groomed the animal such as brushing and bathing, who took the animal to its vet appointments, who Got together with the animal. If you are found to be the primary care provider, you will likely get custody of the pet.
The title is relevant in proving that you are a pet care provider so documents with your and the pet’s name on them such as adoption or purchase records, pet registration records, vet bills and records , microchip records, toy food receipts, etc. and scheduling pet care records all help provide proof that you are the pet’s primary caretaker.
Claiming that the animal is a companion animal focuses on the needs of the litigator and not the needs of the pet. The court is looking at the pet’s best interest, not the person’s.
Future care for pets
You may also need to demonstrate that you are financially able to provide housing, bedding, food, space for the pet, that you will be home long enough to care for the pet, and that the pet Will not leave the animal isolated. Alone for long parts of the day.
Pets are included in protective orders.
More states than not include companion animals in protective orders. Only Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, New Mexico, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Pennsylvania do not. All other states have provisions that allow courts to join. Animals in protective orders.
For the purposes of protective orders, pets are considered more human than who they live with..
Forty states include pets in restraining orders, while only eight states have laws considering their best interest in their safety. If pets are “human-like” enough to be protected from domestic violence, their “best interests” or well-being should be considered as their custody. They are not pieces of furniture or lamps to be divided on the basis of price or value or who paid for it. They are important and very special members of the families they belong to. They deserve such treatment in every state.