Pets in Divorce – Don’t Forget about Rover

Pets in Divorce – Don’t Forget about Rover

While many people view their pets as furry members of the family, the courts in Washington view domestic pets (such as dogs and cats) as personal property. Unlike children, where a parenting plan is established and custody may be shared. Pets are generally given to one party or the other; with courts dividing ownership along with the family home, car, and other personal property.

As in Washington, Rhode Island currently recognizes that pets are property, to be divided without necessarily regarding the animal’s welfare in determining who the pet is slated to live with. However, a new law has been proposed to change that.

The Seattle Times published an article this week about the new law being proposed in Rhode Island to treat pets a little less like property in a divorce proceeding. The law would require that judges take into account the best interest of the animals when determining who would get custody of them during a divorce. This is not a new idea, with Alaska first paving the way for a pet “custody” over pet “property” approach; requiring the court to bear the pet’s interest in mind when determining who would watch over them.

If you are concerned about pet custody in your divorce, your first stop should be to speak with an experienced legal team about your family law options; contact Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC. We provide can a consultation regarding your family law issues. Your attorney will be able to review the facts of your case and discuss your options with you. It is often in the divorcing pet owners’ (and the pet’s) best interest to reach an agreement amicably. For more about collaborative divorce, visit our website.


Subscribe to our newsletters

Subscribe to one or more of our newsletters, delivering meaningful insight on topics that matter to you and your family.
ebl home subscribe image


Latest Blog Posts

Probate in Washington state is relatively straightforward, especially with the guidance of a Seattle estate planning attorney at your side. Here is what you need to know.

Unsure where to begin gathering the foundation you need to go through the divorce process with confidence and well-prepared? Consider the following 10 tips to prepare for divorce.

Everyone who has anyone in their life needs an estate plan, even people who own little or no property.

A common question about legal fees is why they are so high. The following article details what is built into legal fees and explains their cost.

Gifting an estate plan is an act of love because an estate plan goes far beyond material possessions, addressing the emotional, practical, and long-term well-being of your loved ones.

Prenuptial agreements (also known as prenups) can play a pivotal role in safeguarding individual spousal rights in the event of divorce and can also strengthen a marriage.

Valentine’s Day can be tricky for single parents, maybe even you. Unpartnered, at least for the time being, you might not foresee your plans fitting into conventional images of the holiday. But that doesn’t have to be. Valentine’s Day, when you’re single, can be more than a day you need to survive. It can be a day to look forward to.

Collaborative law has evolved into a globally practiced
discipline, extending well beyond the realm of family law, and is used frequently in Seattle divorces.

Classifying January as divorce month could be misleading, given how some of the numbers tell a different story. However, one thing remains clear: January is a great time for a fresh start.

A family law attorney can help with child custody (residential time) by creating or modifying a parenting plan.