Post-divorce, who gets the dog? Consider joint custody

February 21, 2019 - 3:15 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Valentine's Day is over — and so is your marriage. In that scenario, who gets Fido? Maybe both of you. 

When a man in Istanbul brought home a dog, his wife gave him an ultimatum: It's me or the dog.  

Bad move. Many people would pick their pet over their spouse, but what happens when both soon-to-be ex-spouses want the pet? 

Traditionally, courts and the law have considered pets to be another piece of property to be divided and would not enforce visitation for the one who didn't get it.  

But in January, California became the third state in the country, after Alaska and Illinois, to change that. The California law states that courts may now consider the best interest of the pet in deciding who gets custody, and courts can enforce joint-custody agreements for animals just as they do with children. 

Until other states follow suit, couples in states without pet custody laws may agree to joint custody even if the court won't enforce it. 

And everyone should agree that you shouldn't ask a question: Do you love that dog more than you love me? You don't really want the answer.