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If you have a dog, cat or another type of pet, you know the special bond that often develops between humans and their animal companions. Many California residents have pets and commonly refer to them as members of their family. Some people who do not have children have even been known to refer to their dogs and cats as their fur babies. Contrary to this, for a long time the law in California seemed to consider pets just pieces of property when a couple got divorced.

As reported by NBC News, however, that has all changed now. Effective January 1, 2019, a new law went into effect that directed divorce courts to treat pets like children rather than inanimate pieces of property during marital divorces. This means a divorce decree might stipulate custody arrangements and even might include provisions for shared custody.

Decisions about which spouse should receive custody of a pet are to be made based on a variety of factors that all point to what is in the best interest of the pet, not the people. For example, if one spouse travels extensively for work and the other person works at home, it might be better for a pet to live with the person who is home more often.

If you would like to learn more about how you and your spouse might manage the custody arrangements for your pets during a divorce along with all of the other things you must focus on, please feel free to visit the pet custody page of our California divorce website.