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Who Gets The Cat In A Divorce?

Are you worried about what will happen to your cat in your divorce? Here's what a judge will consider to determine who gets the cat.

Cats Are Typically Considered Personal Property

When it comes to pet custody in a divorce, cats are generally regarded as personal property rather than individuals with rights. This means that they are subject to division and allocation, similar to other assets and possessions owned by the couple.

While this categorization may seem impersonal, it is important to understand that the legal system treats pets in this manner. As such, determining who gets the cat involves considering factors that revolve around ownership, care, and the best interests of the animal.

Emotional Bond and Attachment Matter

Judges recognize the deep emotional bonds that can develop between cats and their owners. When deciding who gets the cat in a divorce, they may take into account the level of emotional connection and attachment between each spouse and the feline companion.

Evidence that demonstrates the cat's preference for one spouse or signs of distress when separated from a particular individual can play a significant role. This could include witness testimony or documented instances of the cat seeking comfort from one spouse or displaying behaviors that indicate a strong emotional bond.

Primary Caregiver May Have an Advantage

The spouse who has been the primary caregiver for the cat during the marriage may have an advantage in custody proceedings. Courts often consider the level of responsibility and dedication shown by each spouse when determining pet custody.

Factors such as feeding, grooming, providing healthcare, and spending quality time with the cat can demonstrate a higher level of care and commitment. Evidence of being the primary caregiver, such as veterinary records, feeding schedules, grooming appointments, or statements from neighbors or friends, can strengthen a spouse's claim for custody.

Living Situation and Ability to Provide a Suitable Environment

The living situations of both spouses and their ability to provide a suitable environment for the cat are crucial factors in determining pet custody. Judges take into consideration the physical space available, safety measures, and the presence of other pets or individuals who may pose a risk to the cat's well-being.

Additionally, the financial capacity of each spouse to meet the cat's needs, including providing food, veterinary care, and a stimulating environment, may be evaluated. Providing evidence of a secure and cat-friendly home environment, such as a safe outdoor space or designated areas for the cat's activities, can support a spouse's claim for custody.

Contact a divorce lawyer to learn more.