When New Yorkers Get Divorced, Who Gets The Pets?
Many people will tell you their pets are like their children.
Depending on the state they live in, the law may not fully agree with them.
It seems in the event of a divorce, the laws for pets vary by state. Many states consider them property. In this case, as in any other piece of furniture in your house, the pet will go to whomever can claim ownership of it. Either adoption papers or vet bills and receipts will help determine who indeed is the "owner" of the animal and the court will make the decision if the now former couple cannot.
For those who have not formalized their relationship legally, it gets even murkier. There are no formal arrangements to be made for who gets the pet in a relationship gone wrong, whether you chose to live together or not. If the two parties cannot agree on who gets the animals, one partner will likely have to sue the other to get a conclusion. Before you do that, you would do well to have all the documentation proving you as the owner.
New Yorkers who decide to call it a day on their marriage have it a bit different than most states. Senate Bill S4248 outlined that awarding custody of a pet in a divorce comes down to what is in the best interest of the animal. So, if you take good care of your cat or dog and your ex was more hands off, you may just be able to prove your point and get custody. So here in New York, it may just be that pets are like our children.