Pet Custody in a Florida Divorce Proceeding

Pet Custody in a Divorce

Pet Custody in a Florida Divorce Proceeding


Who Keeps the Dog in a Florida Divorce?

There are many issues that people need to consider when filing for divorce in Florida. One potential issue which is frequently not given enough thought beforehand is that of pet custody. The case that controls on this issue is Bennett v. Bennett, 655 So. 2d 109, 110 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist. 1995). 

This case has two major findings:

  1. While our dogs, cats, etc. are often considered to be members of the family, under Florida law, our pets are still considered to be “chattel” or personal property. County of Pasco v. Riehl, 620 So. 2d 229 (Fla. 2d DCA 1993), and Levine v. Knowles, 197 So. 2d 329 (Fla. 3d DCA 1967).
  2. Under Florida law, there isn’t any authority which provides for a trial court to grant custody or visitation pertaining to personal property.  (Florida Statute 61.075 (2014)

Based on these findings, the custody of pets in a Florida divorce proceeding must be the subject of negotiation, or equitable division, similar to most other marital property issues. If you are considering filing for divorce and have more questions concerning pet custody, consider contacting us for a free initial consultation. Give us a call at +1.786.309.8588