WHO KEEPS THE PETS?
Updated: Feb 23, 2021
You are getting a divorce and want to know who keeps the pets? Although you treat your pets as family members, the Massachusetts Probate and Family courts consider pets as property. A judge will only decide who "owns" your pets after divorce. Spouses cannot request court mandated visitation with their pets or ask a judge to approve a pet visitation arrangement. Any attempts to include a pet visitation arrangement in your separation agreement will likely be stricken by the judge. The judge does not have any authority to enforce it.
The costs associated with maintaining pets can be expensive - medications, grooming, boarding, veterinary care and prescription diets. Their expenses are often an area of concern for my clients. Mediator Kaplan is creative and has successfully included allocation of those expenses in Separation Agreements that were then approved by judges (and not stricken from separation agreements). She has also assisted with informal arrangements about shared custody so we do address the question about, "Who keeps the pets?" after a divorce. To learn more about divorce mediation and Attorney Kaplan's services: www.jrkaplanlaw.com