Aggressive and Successful Representation That Exceeds Our Clients' Expectations

Rhode Island divorce bill seeks to address pet custody disputes

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2022 | Divorce

In a Rhode Island divorce, people are prone to disagreement over a litany of issues. Often, that is linked to child custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support and property division. There are subsets to these issues that can be emotionally taxing and concerning. One is related to the family pet. Deciding who will get to keep a beloved pet can escalate and prolong the case. In the past, there were limited guidelines as to how pets were addressed in a family law proceeding. Recently, new legislation was passed in the Rhode Island House or Representatives to handle pets in a divorce.

Pets are a common area of dispute during divorce

People can grow attached to their pets and both spouses will often lay claim to keeping the pet. This can be difficult to navigate. With the new law, the courts will go beyond seeing the pet as property to be divided. The law would try to prevent the pet from being used to extract other pieces of property from the spouse. Since there was no prior legislation for pet custody, people have spent substantial sums of money on this issue alone.

When the courts assess the case and pet custody, it will look at who might have had the pet initially; who was primarily responsible for caring for the pet; who forged a closer attachment to the animal; what is in the pet’s best interests; and if children are involved and how they feel about the pet. The legislation must still go to the Senate before being sent to the governor. Still, it is a major change that could impact a case when people are fearful and concerned about their pet.

Having experienced assistance may be key with any part of divorce

People who are involved in a family law case and are engaging in dispute over aspects of a divorce might think some goals are frivolous and will be viewed unfavorably by the court. That should not prevent people from seeking what they want as part of the case. Pets are an important part of people’s lives and are not taken lightly. This is especially true if there are children who love the pet and want it to live with them. The pet custody legislation could be a factor in the entire case. For assistance with this and other divorce laws, having caring, experienced representation can be helpful.