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New California law changing how pets are treated in divorce

Most pet owners view their pets as far more than property. A beloved pet can be seen as a major part of the family. However, property is what the law has historically treated pets as here in California when it comes to divorces. Because of this, in divorces, courts in the state generally have been limited to the processes and considerations related to dividing property when deciding what to do with pets in a divorce.

However, a new law is changing this, acknowledging that pets raise issues in divorces beyond those typically raised by traditional property.

Under the new California law, family pets will generally continue to be viewed as community property. However, it will allow for special treatment for pets in divorces that is not the case for other types of property. For one, it will add a process for handling pet disputes that is more like the process around child custody than property division. It also will allow courts to take into account factors related to the pet’s care when deciding what will happen with a pet in a divorce.

The law, which was signed late last month, will go into effect at the start of next year.

One wonders what overall impacts the new law will end up having on the handling of pet issues in California. What do you think of the changes the law makes?

Pet matters are among the things that can raise emotional and complicated issues in divorces. When navigating pet issues or other issues that have the potential to be contentious in a divorce, it can be important for individuals to have guidance on what they can do to safeguard their goals and what matters to them.

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Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz
6877 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506

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