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Will I keep my dog in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2023 | Divorce |

Idaho is a community property state. This means spouses have equal rights over community assets and debts, which are often distributed in a 50-50 split in a divorce. Community property is typically an asset acquired during the bounds of a marriage. 

After much discussion, it may be clear how assets are split evenly. One spouse may acquire the house and the other the car and savings, for example. One asset that often leads to frustration, however, is the family pet. Many people have strong bonds with their pets, often considering them like children and believe owners are entitled to them after divorce.

However, deciding who gets a pet in a divorce isn’t always easy. Here’s what you should know: 

The law generally treats pets like property

The truth is that pets are considered property in Idaho. It can be difficult for people to hear that their pets are likely equal to a fridge or TV, but it can make things easier in a divorce. Because pets are property, they are often part of community property divided in a divorce.

There are a few details that should be considered before someone gets a cat or dog in a divorce. People who acquired their pets before marriage may have personal ownership over them and not consider them community property. 

On the other hand, if a pet is considered community property, then who gets the pet is determined by a few factors. The court may review who purchased the pet, pays for the pet’s needs (vet bills, food, toys, etc.) and spend the most time with the pet. Abuse or a child’s needs may also determine who gets the pet in a divorce.