Pets are like a family member and they are adversely impacted too when a couple separates. Unlike the children, the pets in USA don’t really have any kind of rights because they are classified as community property as per the US Family Law. As you know that when a couple is separated, the community property is divided equally and the sole separate property is restricted to spouse.

So, when a couple is separated in USA, the ownership of pet is traditionally reserved for the property division talks. In USA the family law is changing and this is because of the new bill that was signed by the Governor of a State. The AB 2274 Bill has been passed and according to the bill the pet is allowed to enjoy pristine rights when the owners are separated. But, under this bill the pets are still treated as community property, but not as a child. Judges can now decide the ownership of the pet based on what she or he thinks is in best interest of the pets. So, depending upon this bill and new family law the pet custody in USA is just like child custody.

Pets are Not Children They Are Community Property!

According to the new family law in USA, the pets are still treated as community property and not a child of the family. So, upon successful separation of the couples, both are entitled to enjoy half of this community property. This can include anything which are acquired by either spouse after wedding like retirement benefits, income, personal and private properties and assets and also the pets. The family law states that couples are required to provide details of all the properties they have owned after marriage. After listing all the assets you have, the couples would sit and discuss how the property needs to be divided equally. The process may seem to be tricky as pet is involved in the process and it is a living being which can be divided. So, the couple needs to share ownership interest in pet after their separation.

There is an important point to mention that the pets which are purchased prior to marriage are not considered as community property. It is considered as the separate property and the main owner would enjoy the ownership lifelong. In such case the pets are considered as a personal property which can’t be divided, but it is your sole interest whether or not you want to share the ownership with your spouse.    

Is Pet Treated the Same Way as Child in USA?

In short, the answer is a big “NO”. According to the family law in USA any pet in your home can’t be treated as your child, instead they are the community property and hence they are treated accordingly. Law don’t consider any pet as humans and hence they are referred as separate or community property, but not as a child of a family. But, the owners of the pets can treat their pets as their little children, but according to the US family law they are referred as personal property.

So, when a couple separates or get divorce, the couples are not allowed to discuss about the ownership of the pet. Their ownership is discussion or dispute over the personal property. There are also other circumstances where the custody of the pet may arise. In such situation, they are still considered to be a personal property, but not treated as a child. So, the adoption or the custody of the pets are decided accordingly.

What is the Impact of New Law AB 2274?

Under this new law in USA AB 2274, all the pets across USA are considered to be a community property or personal property in the eyes of law. However, the owners of these pets have the obligation to try to find out how they are considered to be a community property and how they will be divided if a situation arises of ownership separation. Like the property disputes, now the court can interfere and step in to make decisions on behalf of the owners to settle the things out. This is the change which has been made in the new family law.

Court has the full right now to consider the best interests of the pet when finding the right ownership. Under this law of AB 2274, the judges in the court are authorized to allocate joint or sole ownership of this community property by considering the care of the pet and animals. In simple words, the court is liable now find out what is best for the pet and allocate the ownership using some kind of assessment. But all other community properties can divided equally and they are no subjective to such analysis.

The pets are not treated as children of a family because they are alleged for causing domestic abuses spread allergens which may be harmful for the other family members. Under the new family law in USA, the pets are also likely to end up in caring and loving the home. So, courts are liable now to step in when necessary to decide the custody of the pet when separation of the couple is involved. Based on this fact, the pets in USA is not treated as a children, instead it is treated a personal or community property which is a topic of discussion whenever a separation is involved.