Divorce can be difficult for many families – there is no doubt about that.  All too often, litigants may experience long, drawn-out, debates about who will keep the house, the cars and, certainly, the children.  Arguments can flare about the more mundane issues too such as who will acquire the pots and pans, the bedroom furniture, and yes, the wedding photo album and video.

Throw a family pet into the mix and a simple divorce can turn into a howling “cat fight.” 

Naturally, people develop a strong, almost human-like, affection for their pets.  After all, pet-owners are inclined to include their four-legged friend as a part of almost every family activity such as daily walks, family summer vacations and even the family-portrait Christmas cards.  Pet-lovers would undoubtedly affirm, while breaking up is hard to do, it is just as difficult to part with an animal you developed a strong bond with; a pet which has advanced nothing but robust loyalty and a deep love for you as well. 

A New Jersey Court is not inclined to examine custody when it is called to determine where and with whom Fido will live post-divorce.  Indeed, a pet parenting-time plan and a best interest evaluation are not considered – at least not for now.  A Court may analyze post-divorce pet ownership similar to the way it is obligated to divide real property such as furniture, cars or jewelry.  Consequently, considering which party paid for the pooch and who owned the animal prior to marriage will help the Court reach a decision. 

Thus, when it comes to your furry friend, you and your spouse should try to settle residential and visiting pet issues collectively and amicably, sans barking.  If you have a beloved pet and are facing a divorce, it is best to speak to an attorney about avoiding a costly and emotional debate with your spouse with regard to your pet post-divorce.  Contact one of the attorneys at Iandoli & Edens, LLC to assist you.