Like most families, you have probably welcomed one or more pets into your home over the years. You love them and care for them. If divorce enters the picture, you might believe you can get pet custody as you would child custody.
Pets are generally considered property in South Carolina and most states’ family law courts. As such, you probably cannot successfully petition the court for a custody and visitation order involving pets.
What about those celebrity pet custody fights?
To clarify, those were probably not custody battles—they were property disputes. The difference between your situation and theirs is that you are not famous, so the media does not publicize what you do or say. If those you read about were not celebrities, you would never know about their pet battles.
Can you still fight for your pets?
Many family courts don’t like to get involved in pet issues. That’s why it’s best when couples can come up with a solution without the court’s involvement. You may still gain the right to keep your pet using the suggestions below.
Work together cooperatively: You may get what you want by working toward an agreement with your spouse during property division negotiations. Perhaps you could offer up visitation time in exchange for housing the animal.
Create a marital agreement: You can decide what happens to family pets in case of divorce while you are still married. Many couples create postnuptial agreements stipulating where the pet will live if their marriage ends.
A postnuptial agreement ahead of divorce has other benefits as well. For example, you can build a fair divorce settlement using the terms of your postnuptial agreement as a foundation.
To meet the challenges of ending your marriage successfully, learn more about South Carolina postnuptial agreements and divorce laws.