Law Offices of Anne Fokstuen


Family Law Today


Custody of your Pets in Divorce

Animals are property. That is what the law generally holds, and in Community Property states, like California, if the animals were acquired during the marital relationship, the Court would consider them as assets to be divided or sorted by the court in the course of the marital dissolution.

If spouses Henry and Wanda, got their beloved labradoodle Charlie as a couple, after they were married, once the Henry and Wanda start the divorce process, Charlie is in the eyes of the Court, just another to be divided. Thankfully the division is not a physical one, but the Court will decide who gets Charlie.

Now thanks to Assembly bill 2274, codified in California Family Code § 2605, Wanda can ask the Court to order that she get sole custody of Charlie. Wanda can also ask that the court assign Charlie to her care prior to the divorce decree being issued so that she Wanda cares for Charlie’s wellbeing throughout the divorce decree.

Divorce can be a messy, time consuming business, and often times tempers are frayed by the nature of the process. The new law ensures that the court takes the animal into consideration as a separate category from other community property, so Charlie won’t be subject to division on the same terms as the family car, and that his value is beyond just dollars and cents.

Anne Fokstuen