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L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC
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Who Gets the Family Pet in an Ohio Divorce?


One of the most important members of many families is their pet. But in the event of a divorce, who will keep the family’s beloved furry, feathered, or scaled friend?

While many states treat animals as property, there are some that view family pets more like children. According to a recent law in Illinois, judges can take the best interests of the animal into consideration to determine custody and visitation schedule for both spouses to follow once the divorce is final.

However, Ohio law considers pets as personal property—just like your home, car, jewelry, television, or any other asset that was obtained during the course of the marriage. Fortunately, many family court judges throughout the state are aware of the strong bond between pet and owner and will take into account several factors to determine who will own the pet after divorce.

Common factors include the following:

  • Who purchased the pet?
  • Was the purchase made before or after the couple got married?
  • Who cared for and fed the pet daily?
  • Who took the pet to the vet?
  • Who paid for the pet’s vet and insurance bills?
  • Who purchased pet supplies such as food, toys, litter, etc.?
  • Who paid for any special training the pet received?
  • Who is more financially stable to care for the pet after divorce?
  • Who abused or neglected the pet?

When it comes to property division, Ohio is an equitable distribution state. This means marital assets—also known as community property—are divided in a fair and equitable manner. If one spouse is awarded the family pet, the other will receive assets equal to that pet’s value.

If you are interested in filing for divorce in Dayton, contact L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC today at (937) 685-7006, and schedule a free case evaluation.