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Who Gets the Pets After a Nassau County Divorce?

By The Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC on May 2, 2016

Many Long Island residents are devoted to their pets. The family pet is just that: family. And when a couple divorces, questions about who will have custody of the pet can be just as emotionally wrenching and complex as questions about who will have custody of the children.

Unfortunately, the law in New York is still catching up to recognizing the place pets have in the home. In many states, pets are unequivocally classified as property. Deciding who “gets” them is no different than deciding who gets the couch or the silver ware. In New York, some judges have acknowledged that pets have a more important place in the household, but the law still tends to view them as property rather than family members.

How can you make the case that you should have custody of the family pet? The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) recommends answering these questions when pursuing pet custody:

• Who was most responsible for taking care of the pet? For instance, who did most of the feeding, grooming, walking, litter box cleaning, or vet visits?
• Who spent the most time with the pet on a regular basis? For example, did one spouse stay home to take care of the household and the pets while the other worked or traveled long hours?
• Does your lawyer have experience with pet cases? Look for an attorney who has won pet “custody” battles before.

Contact a Dedicated Long Island Family Law Attorney

At the Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC, our experienced Long Island divorce lawyers can help you navigate divorce successfully and plan for a brighter future for yourself, your children, and – yes – your pets. Contact our office today for a confidential consultation. We can help you secure a future for your family that is fair for everyone. You can reach us at (516) 227-5353.

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