When so many pet owners say they would risk their lives to protect their pet, is it any wonder that so many animal lovers are willing to fight for custody of their animals?

Many couples who separate or divorce ask for custody of their dog or cat. As a matter of fact, there has been an increase in pet custody cases over the last several years.

Apparently more and more courts are allowing pet custody cases to take place. According to a survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, dogs fetched the top spot as the most disputed family animal with a majority of 88 percent. Cats scratched to a distant second with a 5 percent total.

Only when there is a showing of good cause in relation to a domestic violence restraining order, can the court make any orders regarding an animal.

According to Family Code 6320(b), “On a showing of good cause, the court may include in a protective order a grant to the petitioner of the exclusive case, possession, or control of an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either the Petitioner or Respondent or a minor child residing in the residence or household of either the Petitioner or the Respondent.”

A pet lover may not be happy, but California courts tend to view animals as property, not as children. Unfortunately for the pet owners – the law views pets more like a sofa than a minor child; therefore, they are highly unlikely to order joint custody of a pet.

Many pet owners tend to treat their animals like children and feel this is outrageous of the justice system. Animal lovers have a great attachment to their pets – they live with us, eat with us, sleep with us and grow up with our family.

For couples without children, they just might fight tooth and nail for the custody of their beloved companion. Understanding the pet to human relationship is hard for those who never had a pet to love.

If you are concerned with the custody of your pet, contact a skilled Orange County family law attorney. At the family law offices of Amy M. Montes, we know how important a dog, cat or other pet can be to everyone in the family. We will work hard to ensure a positive outcome for everyone involved in the divorce process, including your furry friend. We can help get in touch with one of our attorneys to learn more about custodial matters.


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