If you’re going through a divorce or contemplating filing for divorce, one of the questions you may have is, “what will happen to my pets?” Pets are part of the family and it often matters a great deal where and with whom our furry friends will reside.
In Connecticut, there are no legal provisions that specifically address pets and as cold as it may sound, pets are considered “personal property” to typically be divided by agreement of the parties. The hope is that the parties can reach an amicable agreement on their own with regard to pets but, like other personal property, if the parties are unable to reach an agreement the court can decide who will get the pets.
There can be a great deal of variation in the amount of evidence judges are willing to consider regarding placement of pets; some are inclined to allow the parties to testify about their relationship with the pet and the pets’ relationships with each other, while others are less inclined to go into such depth. Judges also vary in their opinion of with whom the pets shall live; some believe pets can be split such that each party receives a pet, while other judges believe that pets that are raised together, stay together.
In a recent Hartford County case, one of our attorney’s, Jessica Wilson, fought relentlessly for a client who wanted her beloved dogs to stay together and with her after the divorce. Despite many attempts at negotiation, the parties could not agree on placement of the dogs and Attorney Wilson requested and was granted, a hearing on the sole issue of placement of the dogs. Attorney Wilson called both her client and the opposing party to the stand and introduced evidence in the form of pictures; both of the dogs together and of the living arrangements of the opposing party. Based on the emotional and sincere testimony, Attorney Wilson was able to elicit from her client and the evidence that was introduced at the hearing, a tearful victory was reached when the Judge ordered that the dogs stay together with Attorney Wilson’s client.
If there are pets in your family and you are concerned about their placement, we will negotiate and litigate to the fullest extent to achieve a result that keeps your pets safe and sound and living where and with whom you wish.