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7 Things to Know About Pets in a New Jersey Divorce

Divorce is a complex and stressful process. A divorce can be even more complicated when pets are involved. For many couples, their pets are a valuable and important part of their lives. Indeed, for many married couples, pets are part of the family. Determining pet ownership can be a difficult and emotional process. If you are going through a divorce in New Jersey and have pets, it's important to understand how the state law handles pet ownership. There are seven things you need to know about pets in a New Jersey divorce:

  • Pets are considered personal property
  • The court does not consider the best interests of the pet
  • You can negotiate pet ownership outside of court
  • Mediation can help resolve pet ownership disputes
  • Pet custody arrangements are becoming more common
  • Consider the financial implications of pet ownership
  • Work with an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney
Pets are Considered Personal Property

Unlike other states, when it comes to pets in a New Jersey divorce, the state does not have specific laws regarding pet custody. As a consequence, in regard to pets in a New Jersey divorce, furry friends are treated as personal property. As a result, the ownership of pets will be determined based on the equitable distribution of assets. This means that pets will be treated like any other asset, such as a car or a piece of furniture.

The Court Does Not Consider the Best Interests of the Pet

While children are considered sentient beings in the eyes of the court, pets are not. Therefore, in regard to pets in a New Jersey divorce, the court will not consider the best interests of the pet when determining ownership. This means that the court will not take into account factors such as who is better equipped to care for the pet or who has a stronger bond with the pet. However, in some cases, the court may consider factors such as who originally purchased the pet or who has been the primary caregiver.

You can Negotiate Pet Ownership Outside of Court

If you and your spouse can come to an agreement on pet ownership, you can include it in your divorce settlement. This is often the best solution, as it allows you to retain control over the outcome. You can work with your spouse to come up with an arrangement that works for both parties and takes into account the needs of your pet. Some couples opt for joint custody of their pets, where they share time with the pet and split the expenses.

Mediation can Help Resolve Pet Ownership Disputes

If you and your spouse are having trouble agreeing on pet ownership, mediation can be a useful tool. A neutral third party can help you come to an agreement that works for both parties. Mediation can be less expensive and less time-consuming than going to court, and it can help you avoid the stress of a lengthy legal battle.

Pet Custody Arrangements are Becoming More Common

While not recognized by law, pet custody arrangements are becoming more common in New Jersey divorces. These arrangements can help ensure that both parties have access to the pet and can share in its care. Pet custody arrangements can be tailored to the specific needs of your pet and can help reduce the stress of the divorce on your furry friend. For example, you can agree on a schedule that allows your pet to spend time with both of you, or you can agree on who will be responsible for certain pet-related expenses.

Consider the Financial Implications of Pet Ownership

Pets can be expensive, so it's essential to consider the financial implications of pet ownership before agreeing to take ownership of a pet in your divorce settlement. You should take into account the costs of food, veterinary care, and other expenses associated with pet ownership. You should also consider whether you have the time and resources to properly care for your pet. If you're concerned about the financial burden of pet ownership, you may want to consider agreeing to joint custody or arranging for a pet trust.

Work with an Experienced New Jersey Divorce Attorney

If you are going through a divorce in New Jersey and have pets, it's essential to work with an experienced divorce attorney. They can help you navigate the complex legal landscape and ensure that your rights are protected. Your attorney can help you understand the legal options available to you and can help you negotiate a settlement that takes into account the needs of your pet. An experienced attorney can also help you avoid common mistakes and pitfalls that can arise when dealing with pet ownership and divorce. If the situation escalates, seek legal help. If you wish to have a free divorce consultation, call (201) 845-7400 today.

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