Generally speaking, it’s not likely that your pets will be sold as a part of the divorce. That being the case, this means that some sort of value will have to be placed on your animals for the purposes of dividing them as part of the marital estate. When it comes to animals and the division of personal property, any Ventura County family lawyer can tell you that there are two general groups under which they can be listed: livestock and pets.
Typically, livestock are animals that are owned and/or bred for income purposes; however, unless an animal has been bringing in more money than it has been absorbing, it is considered to be a pet. In general, pets are animals that give companionship or share recreational activities with their owners, such as in the case of hunting dogs. Of course, certain animals can fit under both categories, but the thing that differentiates pets when it comes to the division of marital property (and one of the things that can be the most problematic) is the emotional connection that grows between owners and their pets.
The emotional connection that owners can have with their pets can actually beat out that which owners develop in human-to-human relationships. Accordingly, a certain amount of care must be taken with regard to the disposition of the animals. Pets generally bond more with one particular person in the family (usually the person who feeds the pet) more than the other family members; therefore, letting the pet go with the individual to whom it is closest will be less upsetting to the pet.
A Ventura County family lawyer may also tell you that dogs that have marketable skills (such as hunting or seeing-eye dogs) or dogs that are good for breeding might actually have a market value. Such value can be figured out in the same manner in which you would value any other asset. The parties can either decide to agree on a value amount, reference can be made to certain trade magazines or Internet stores, or as a last resort, a person who is educated in the field can be hired to assess the value of the animal. Nonetheless, in the majority of cases, the dollar value of a pet is zero.
If you have pets and you need a Ventura County family lawyer to help you decide which party will take which pet, or if you have any other family law-related issues, please call Gary Mitchell at (888) 452-1846 for a free consultation.
Gary Mitchell, Attorney at Law
Westlake Village Divorce Lawyer
4195 East Thousand Oaks Blvd Suite 240
Westlake Village, California 91362