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Custody of pets

by Dinnebier & Demmerle on November 13, 2014

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Real-life events often present timely opportunities for discussion regarding certain aspects of our legal practice. A recent news item reported the finalization of a divorce settlement between a popular comic actress and her wife, a psychologist, in the Los Angeles courts. The settlement included various bank accounts, financial assets and other property, as well as assignment of custody of the couple’s dog to one of the parties.

To some people, a court ruling on “who gets the pet” may seem frivolous, but that simply is not accurate in our present culture. Pets can be as beloved as (human) children, and the prospect of losing contact with the pet can be as painful as contemplating the removal of a human son or daughter. Pets are often chosen to inherit estate assets. You might recall that when she died, hotel magnate Leona Helmsley left about twelve million dollars to her dog.

California law has established laws pertaining directly to pets and pet custody. For example: there is a state law that allows the Family Court to issue orders for the protection of animals in situations of domestic violence. Another section of the California Family Code allows pets to be named in restraining orders.

Pets, like children, may be included in a prenup or postnup agreement, as well as in a divorce settlement in California. As our blogs have noted previously, this blog should not be taken as legal advice. It is simply our opinion on a legal matter. Pets can be as beloved as any human family member. But human emotions can turn into animal passions. And these may run hot during the divorce process. That is when the presence and participation of an experienced family law attorney may prove more vital than ever. That’s why if you believe you may face a similar situation, your wisest next might be to seek counsel from a knowledgeable family law attorney.

As Orange County’s premier family law specialists, the attorneys at Dinnebier & Demmerle can provide answers to your questions and concerns, clarify and establish your legal rights, and represent you in court. If you would like more information about pet custody issues in divorce or any other aspect of California family law, please call to set up a consultation. We’re ready to move forward when you are. Just contact us in Tustin at 714-838-1099.

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