Equitable Distribution: What Happens To Pets When People Divorce?

In Florida, a family law court is authorized to divide spouses’ marital assets and liabilities as part of a divorce.  This is known as equitable distribution.

A dog or cat adopted during the marriage would be considered a “marital asset” to be distributed.  A court will either ratify an agreement on the pet, or determine how to distribute the pet based on the factors laid out in section 61.075, Florida Statutes.

Interestingly enough, the legislature of Maryland is considering a bill that would treat animals more like children.  From the Washington Examiner:

Essentially, the law gives the court the power to issue a custody agreement for pets. While it may seem a little silly on the surface, to couples who don’t have kids, pets are the next-best thing. And — especially if it’s a bitter divorce — they’ll fight tooth and nail over them.

Here’s what the proposed law would allow the court to do:

  • Give one party sole ownership of the pet,
  • Give one party sole ownership of the pet with visitation rights granted to the other party on a schedule that the court determines, OR
  • Give both parties ownership of the pet and order custody of the pet to be shared by both parties on a schedule that the court determines.

The court cannot order either party to pay any pet expenses to the other party.

If you have questions regarding equitable distribution or other issues associated with divorce, you may schedule a consultation with The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., by calling us at (813) 443-0615 or filling out our contact form.


About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at www.FamilyDiplomacy.com. Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
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One Response to Equitable Distribution: What Happens To Pets When People Divorce?

  1. Pingback: Equitable Distribution: What Happens To Pets When People Divorce … | Child Custody Attorneys

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