In the past, many states’ laws treated pets as nothing more than property that should be split up like a house, jewelry or any other asset in a divorce. That will change on Jan. 1, 2019, when Assembly Bill 2274 goes into effect in California though.
Under the new law, divorcing spouses will be able to petition a judge for either joint or sole custody of the family pet. The democrat assemblyman who drafted the bill noted that the enactment of the law will ensure that no pet’s care is jeopardized during divorce proceedings or once a settlement is reached.
While pushing for the bill to be passed, he noted that its enactment would ensure that pets received necessary veterinary care, a shelter and food they deserved. He suggested that it would protect them from cruelty and harm as well.
Laws similar to California’s Assembly Bill 2274 are already in effect in both Illinois and Alaska. Groups such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has suggested that the bill may potentially reduce pet homelessness.
Organizations such as the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists (ACFLS) had previously argued against the bill. They argued that it would make already time-consuming divorce proceedings take even longer to settle moving forward.
A spokesperson for the organization mentioned that California family court judges are bogged down by having to decide child custody and community property division matters enough already. They argue that proving which spouse can more effectively care for the family pet may clog up the court calendar even more, making it longer for judges to make decisions.
Resolving property division issues, whether a prenuptial agreement was in place or not, can be quite complicated. It can also be difficult for a former couple to settle on child custody arrangements after having spent significant time with unfettered access to their kids. Negotiating for the support and ownership rights of your pets will soon become just as involved.
A San Jose family law attorney who is focused on providing personalized representation and getting results in sensitive matters such as these is who you’ll want on your side in negotiations like these.