Dogs aren’t just man’s best friend. They are also an important part of the family. But if you are like most married couples in Salt Lake City, there is a good chance you do not have a plan on who would get custody of the pet after a divorce. But with the rise of divorce and pet ownership, it has raised some interesting legal questions. In the past, most states classify pets as property. However, some recent cases around the country may change the rules on which spouse gets to keep Fido.

New Joint Pet Custody Laws

When most couples adopt a pet, they rarely create a plan to determine the custody of their four-legged friend should the marriage end. Those who have a plan sometimes use very creative methods. Some people have included their pets in prenuptial agreements. Some states are now starting to recognize the importance of creating new pet custody laws. Leading the way is Alaska. Earlier this year, the state passed a law which requires the court to take into consideration the pet’s well being. The new Alaskan law would also allow judges to award joint custody. The trend seems to be catching on in other states. In February, a similar bill was proposed by a Rhode Island lawmaker.

In most relationships, one party usually has ownership of the dog prior to the marriage. Therefore, custody typically goes to the original owner. But what happens when a couple decides to adopt a pet together? The situation can sometimes get a little complicated. Although the Alaskan law does not have the same provisions as child custody, it does take into consideration how each party treats the pet and contributes to its development. Many Salt Lake City divorce attorney often help clients by creating a visitation schedule and to help determine how the dog will be cared for financially.

How Does the Court Determine Pet Custody?

When it comes child custody, Utah family courts make their determination based on the best interest of each child. But when it comes to pets, custody isn’t always easy to determine. Here are some of the most common factors the court will use to determine pet custody.

The court tends to favor the party who provides the basic needs for the pet, including food, shelter, walks and grooming. The court takes into consideration which party take the pet to the veterinarian for medical care. The court also considers which party is most financially fit to take care of the pet

In the case of dogs, the court tends to favor the party that is able to provide an environment with social interaction and provide training.

A Salt Lake City Divorce Attorney Can Help

The are many overlooked aspects of divorce. The legal team at The Ault Firm is committed to helping clients prepare and deal with this life changing situation. Salt Lake City divorce attorney Christopher M. Ault has successfully represented both men and women. He utilizes an aggressive and comprehensive approach to ensure each client is placed in the best position to succeed. To learn more, contact the legal team at The Ault Firm, P.C. and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.