By Kenneth V. Mundy, Florida Divorce Attorney
Our pets are valued members of the family. Some pets have been in the family for years or even decades and are as much a part of the family as anyone else in the household. However, in Florida, pets are not considered by law as part of the family but instead as the couple’s property to be divided. Therefore, at the end of your divorce, only one party will own the pet, and the Court entertains no pet-sharing agreement.
Divorcing parties may wish to make an arrangement outside of Court for each other to spend time with their pets, but the Court will not recognize this agreement. If you are considering divorce in Naples, contact Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A. for a consultation about issues surrounding it, including your beloved pets(s).
Pets Included in the Equitable Distribution of Property in Florida
In Florida, all property of the divorcing parties is divided “equitably” and not necessarily equal under Florida’s equitable distribution laws. The Equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities is set out in Section 61.075, Florida Statutes. The Judge in your divorce will determine the facts of the case and decide who will be awarded the pet along with all other property. Unlike child custody decisions, the pet’s best interest is not taken into consideration except that the Judge may consider certain variables as to who is best suited to own the pet.
The Court will review the situation and decide, based on several factors, when determining who will be awarded the pet(s). In the Judge’s determination as to who receives the pet, the following factors will be considered:
- Which party spent the most time and effort caring for the pet?
- Which party took the pet to vet appointments and otherwise tended to its needs?
- Which party is financially capable of caring for a pet?
- Which party is in the best health to care for the pet?
- What is the value of the pet?
Pets and Mediation in Florida Divorce
Similar to any other decision made during your divorce proceedings in Florida, couples can agree on their own about how the pets will be cared for and about ownership. Working on an agreement outside of the legal process can be very beneficial for resolving issues ahead of time about your pets. Alternatively, mediation is helpful if there is no way of reaching an agreement about who gets the pet(s) due to divorce. A Florida mediator will be a neutral party that helps with compromise and communication and helps you reach an understanding regarding your pets. The family law attorneys at Woodward, Pires & Lombardo will walk you through the Florida Mediation legal process concerning your divorce.
Our Divorce Attorneys in Naples Can Help with Unique Issues Surrounding Pets in Divorce
Due to emotions surrounding the love and history of your pets, determining who gets the pet can be a complicated matter with unique circumstances. Our family law attorneys are experienced in such issues and can guide you through the Florida legal process. Contact our Naples divorce attorneys today for help.
About the Author
Kenneth V. Mundy is a family law attorney with the law firm of Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A. For undergraduate school, Ken graduated cum laude from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2013. Thereafter, Ken graduated summa cum laude from Ave Maria School of Law in 2016, obtaining his Juris Doctor. Originally from New Jersey, Ken moved to Naples, Florida, with his parents and sister in 1997. Ken continues to happily reside in Naples with his wife, Taylor, and son, Dallas.
Ken is a Certified Financial Litigator (CFL™) focusing on family and marital law, including but not limited to complex divorces, child custody disputes, child support and alimony issues, relocation, paternity actions, and domestic violence proceedings. Ken is committed to protecting, educating, and guiding clients through the difficult and challenging processes associated with family law matters. In every case, Ken ensures his clients are placed in a position to make decisions in the best interest of themselves and their families while maintaining their dignity and self-respect.
Ken is also very involved in the community as he is on the Board of Directors for Meals of Hope and the Naples Junior Chamber, both of which are not-for-profit entities.
Contact Ken at (239) 649-6555 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.