For many people, pets are part of the family. They treat them like children in the way they care for and love them. The problem is, when going through a divorce, the law does not treat them the same way.
A few states now have laws that allow the court to order custody arrangements for pets and to consider the wellbeing of the pet in making a decision. New Jersey, however, is like most states that still treat pets as property. New Jersey law does recognize pets have special value and should be treated differently than a piece of furniture. What is best for the pet, however, is not taken into consideration.
The question is now raised of what to do when you love your pet like family and have to deal with it in a New Jersey divorce. There is a simple answer – do not put your pet’s fate in the hands of the court. In every divorce, you have the option of reaching an agreement on your own.
You can work with a mediator or negotiate with each other with the help of your attorneys. When you reach an agreement on your own about what to do with a pet, you are not limited to what the law says. You can focus on what is better for the pet, or even agree to share “custody.”
Mediating or negotiating a divorce settlement allows you to be creative and come up with arrangements that make the most sense for your family – even the members with four legs!