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Massachusetts property division could involve pet ownership

Massachusetts pet owners know that animals can, at times, feel like their children. Individuals may care for their pets much like they would care for children, from sending them to day care to buying them clothing. Unfortunately, in the eyes of most court systems, pets are considered property and, in the event of a divorce, pets may come under the jurisdiction of the property division processes.

Pet ownership can become a point of contention for individuals who are going through divorce. Depending on when the pet was acquired, the court could have to decide which party maintains ownership of the pet. If the pet was given as a gift or was owned before the couple got married, the animal may be considered separate property, and this type of property cannot be divided by the court. In such a case, the original owner of the pet would maintain that ownership.

However, if a pet was brought into the family together after the couple married, the situation may become more complicated. If the pet is considered community property, the court may decide which party may keep the pet. Though this may seem disheartening for the party that does not maintain ownership, the individuals may be able to create a visitation schedule similar to a child custody schedule that could allow both parties to see the pet.

Property division is often a complicated endeavor when it comes to divorce, and when something so important to a party, such as a pet, is involved, the situation can be potentially difficult to work through. Therefore, it may be prudent for individuals going through the process to understand how their pets may be categorized. Information on separate property and community property in Massachusetts may help parties know what to expect from their situations.

Source: Parade, "In a Divorce, Who Gets the Pets?", Michele C.Hollow, Aug. 18, 2014

Source: Parade, "In a Divorce, Who Gets the Pets?", Michele C.Hollow, Aug. 18, 2014

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