New California Law Will Look to “Best Interest of Pets” in Divorce

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blur canine close up couplePhoto by Danielle Truckenmiller on Pexels.com

By Richard Schulke, Reference Librarian

Custody gets a new twist in California on January 1, 2019—and that would be custody of the pets after a divorce between humans.

Assembly Bill 2274 adds section 2605 to the CA Family Code and requires judges in a dissolution of marriage case that involves pets to take the “best interest of the pet” in deciding who gets custody of the pet.

The judge has the options of sole or joint custody and assigning visitation rights. The judge will look at factors such as who walks, feeds and takes the pet to the vet. There is also the wags the tail test, which the judge can determine by viewing separately which spouse gets the most tail wagging (I made that one up).

Alaska and Illinois have very similar laws already on the books.

So, if you are a practicing family law attorney you better bone up on this new law!


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