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What factors are considered in a pet custody case in New York?

On Behalf of | Oct 9, 2023 | Divorce

As our affection for pets continues to grow, the issue of deciding who gets custody of them in a divorce is becoming more frequent.

According to ABC News, New York is among a select group of states that have implemented regulations pertaining to pet custody. These laws offer direction and outline factors for the court to use when determining what is in the best interest of a pet during divorce proceedings.

Pet ownership

The initial factor the court examines is pet ownership. To establish legal ownership, the court may rely on purchase or adoption records, microchip information or any other documented proof.

Primary caretaker

Courts often consider the person who has taken on the primary caregiving role for the pet. This involves responsibilities such as feeding, grooming and ensuring the pet receives proper medical care.

Living conditions

Living conditions are another factor in a pet custody case. Courts are careful to examine where each party resides, the suitability of their homes and whether they provide enough space to ensure the pet’s well-being.

Emotional bonds

The court places great importance on the emotional connection between each person and the pet. They consider who the pet appears to be more bonded with, as this can be an indicator of the pet’s welfare and overall happiness.

Written arrangements

Having a written agreement for pet custody can have a substantial impact on the court’s decision. These agreements should outline each person’s responsibilities, visitation schedules and financial support arrangements for the pet.

Abuse or neglect

Evidence of abuse or neglect can heavily influence the court’s decision. If one party has a history of mistreating the pet or has neglected their care, it may weigh against them in the custody battle.

During a divorce, it is important to make sure pets receive the love and care they deserve, despite the changes in family situations.