Dogs gain status in California court divorce custody disagreements

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In a stunning decision, California judges will be granted authority to settle custody disagreements over who gets to keep the family dog in divorces the same way child custody disputes are handled.

According to APNews, pets have always been considered family property during divorce settlements -much like who gets custody of the sofa or the health food blender. On Thursday, however Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill giving judges the authority to decide who gets the family dog or cat by weighing such factors as who feeds them, who takes them on walks, who takes them to the vet and who protects them. Although pets will still be considered community property, it’s apparent their status as family members are now part of the process.

The law goes into effect on January 1, and attorneys on both sides of divorce cases have admitted it has been difficult for judges to decide which person should get custody of a pet – especially when so many pet owners consider their dogs and cats  important members of the family unit.

The bill was introduced by Bill Quirk, Hayward (D) who is an animal lover and pet parent to a rescued Maltese-Shih Tzu mix, Luna. Governor Brown is a pet lover as well and proudly shows photos of the “first dog” Lucy on his website.

What are your thoughts?

Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook for the latest in animal news.

Yesterday in the news: Man accused of shooting puppy who was being held by child – the story here.

Amazing dog needs a home: A gorgeous, young German shepherd continues to wait for her perfect home – more here.

Pet cougar?!

A beautiful bond…


3 replies
  1. Marianne Zito says:

    I so agree that animals are our family and not community property!!! I think all states should have this law and treat dogs like family as part of our family unit no dog needs to suffer !

  2. Dalma Bugg says:

    The problem I see it’s this legislation is two-fold. Dogs, unlike children, cannot say they’d rather be with their preferred parent; and also, the dog/s could still end up being victims of abuse by a nasty vindictive spouse as we saw in a recently publicised case. Don’t see a clear way for dogs to be the winners here.


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