During a separation, the parties invariably have a beloved family pet and the possession of the animal becomes a very delicate area of the law.
An animal is considered a piece of property. There are several scenarios to consider.
A pet is purchased by a couple before marriage. The couple allows one or the other person to place their name on the AKC Registration. The court looks at the AKC Registration or the adoption papers to determine if the animal is pre-marital and if so, the animal is not marital property subject to distribution.
If the animal was purchased during the marriage, title is irrelevant but may be considered by the Court as intent of the parties. If the parties are unable to agree on what happens with the pet, the Court will have to distribute possession of your pet. At that stage that the Court looks at who provided financially for the animal and who presently has possession as of the date of the hearing on Equitable Distribution.