If you are preparing to divorce, then you may be concerned about your family dog. You likely think of it as a member of your family and couldn’t imagine your life without its continuous presence in it.
Sure, as your spouse may argue, your dog may have some monetary value based on its rare breed (making it a financial bargaining chip in your divorce. However, your dog is a loving companion to you. What are your options for not losing it in your divorce?
Idaho’s community property laws
Idaho is one of only a handful of states that has community property laws in place. This would generally require you to divide property right down the middle (50-50) when you divorce. That doctrine clearly doesn’t give guidance on how to divide property if you and your spouse are both tied to it and can’t reach an agreement on what to do with it.
What Idaho law says about dogs in a divorce
If you were dealing with a savings account, you’d be able to divide the proceeds in it 50-50. That’s hard to do with “property” such as your family pet. Yes, your family dog is considered property under state law and is “divisible,” just like any other property in a divorce.
Remember that the judge presiding over your divorce will ultimately review and sign off on any divorce settlement that you and your spouse reach. They’ll likely inquire about which of you initially acquired the pet, provided for them financially during the marriage and was their primary caregiver during that time as well. Your responses may persuade them into accepting your argument that you should have the dog.
If you don’t want your dog to become a pawn that your spouse uses against you in divorce negotiations, then you’ll need to have a carefully crafted strategy for property division negotiations in your divorce. This is where experienced legal guidance can make all the difference.