Determining who keeps your family pet in a Colorado divorce

A lot is uncertain when you file for divorce. You may not know what will happen with your property or how you will share custody of your children.

If you have a pet, what happens with the animal when you divorce may also be unclear. The chances are good that both you and your spouse have a strong emotional attachment to the pet and would like to keep it after the divorce.

What will the Colorado courts do if you two can’t agree about who keeps the pet in your divorce?

The Colorado courts treat pets like property

Unfortunately, while you may think of your pet as part of your family, legally any animal you live with is just a possession. In Colorado, the courts won’t think about the best interests of the pet or its emotional value. Instead, they need to assign it a financial value and treat it like property.

Shared custody of an animal isn’t something you can litigate in Colorado. One spouse will get the pet, and the other will not. The only way around this is if you reach your own settlement outside of court.

You and your spouse could agree to regular exchange of pet custody or to visitation if one spouse can’t assume shared custodial responsibility for your pet. Otherwise, you may have to accept the fact that you may lose your relationship with your companion animal as a result of your divorce.

Understanding the Colorado approach to property division and other decisions can help you as you prepare for your upcoming divorce.

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