San Diego Pet Custody Attorney

San Diego Pet Custody Attorney

Your pet is an important part of your family. If you’re going through a divorce in San Diego, CA, you may have rights and obligations to your pet under the new California pet custody law. A trusted San Diego pet custody attorney at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC can offer the solutions you need to reach a favorable outcome for your relationship with your pet. 

Our lawyers have over two decades of experience helping clients resolve their family law issues.

Having a skilled attorney by your side can make all the difference in the world to the outcome of your pet custody case. To learn more about how we can put our experience to work for you, call our law offices in San Diego, California, to schedule a consultation today at (619) 866-3756.

How San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC Can Help With Your Pet Custody Case in San Diego, CA

When most couples adopt an animal, they don’t envision ever fighting over possession of the pet. Regardless, the division of pet care responsibilities is a reality for countless people in Southern California.  

Pet custody battles can be lengthy and expensive. They can also be emotionally exhausting. You need an experienced San Diego family law attorney in your corner to protect your best interests–and to make sure your pet receives the best care possible.

Our lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC handle all types of family law matters for clients in San Diego. We have a proven history of helping clients secure positive outcomes so that they can move on with their lives.

When you hire our legal team to protect the interests of your pet and your family, you can rest assured that we will:

  • Launch a detailed investigation to gather evidence that supports your custody petition
  • Provide comprehensive advice on all family law matters related to your pet custody case
  • Request an amicus brief from the Animal Legal Defense Fund if necessary to support your claim
  • Handle all paperwork and administrative issues to make sure your case is resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible

Pets bring joy and love into the household. Don’t let your pet be forgotten during an otherwise complex divorce. Let our experienced San Diego family lawyers help to make sure your animal has the loving home it deserves.

Our lawyers are committed to developing innovative custody solutions that work for your family’s lifestyle. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help with your divorce and custody issues, just give us a quick call today.

How Are Pets Treated in a Divorce in San Diego, CA?

Pets are technically personal property under California state laws. That hasn’t changed since the new law was enacted. Community property (or property acquired during marriage) is to be divided equally between the parties to a divorce. 

Under prior law, courts could only treat pets differently under the California Family Code domestic violence prevention provisions. In other words, under the old laws, courts really only had the authority to award a pet to one party or the other. 

In the eyes of the law, setting up a visitation schedule or shared custody arrangement would have been no different than trading the coffee maker back and forth. However, family pets are obviously much different than other assets in a divorce or separation. To an extent, the new law recognizes this and gives judges greater flexibility in awarding pet custody and creating shared custody arrangements.

California’s New Pet Custody Law: Assembly Bill 2274

Assembly Bill 2274 (AB2274) gives courts the authority to award pet custody based on what’s in the best interests of the animal in question. Although the term “best interests” isn’t specifically used in the legal text, the standard has been interpreted similarly to the “best interests of the child” standard for child custody cases.

Under AB2274, courts have the authority to order sole custody or joint care of the pet animal. “Care” for this purpose includes:

  • Veterinary care
  • A safe shelter
  • Food
  • Water 
  • The prevention of acts of cruelty or harm

In other words, pet custody cases can deal with both physical custody issues and the financial support of your pet.

The law applies to all pet animals that are classified as community property. Generally speaking, community property in California is any property that’s acquired by a couple during a legal marriage.

Your pet is much more than just a piece of personal property. Would you like help reaching a solution to make sure your pet is well cared for? Our San Diego pet custody lawyers can help. We have over 20 years of experience helping families like yours and would be happy to put our experience to work for you.

What Types of Evidence Will Courts Consider in Pet Custody Cases in California?

When fighting to secure custody of your pet, both parties will have a chance to offer proof about the living arrangement that would be in the animal’s best interests. 

Some of the most important forms of proof include:

  • Photos showing you with your pet
  • Statements from family members, friends, and neighbors about your relationship with the pet
  • Adoption forms, bills of sale, and other documents proving you’re the pet’s legal owner
  • Records from veterinarians and groomers
  • Evidence that your former partner mistreated your pet

Are you interested in fighting for sole physical custody of your pet? Do you need help developing a shared custody arrangement that works for you and your former spouse? 

Look no further. Our compassionate family law attorneys at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC can help you find a solution that meets your needs. Just give us a call today to schedule a consultation.

Can Animal Abuse Impact My Pet Custody Case?

California courts have the power to issue a protective order in cases involving animal abuse. In fact, it’s common for pet owners to get into pet custody battles primarily because their partner has mistreated their pet in the past.

If you can prove that your partner physically or emotionally abused your pet in the past, that can provide powerful evidence to support your claim for primary physical custody.

Evidence of physical or emotional abuse might include:

  • Videos of your partner yelling at, or hitting, your pet
  • Testimony from others who have witnessed the abuse
  • Veterinary records that show a history of physical abuse

Unfortunately, animal abuse is a big problem in the U.S. Our lawyers don’t want to see your pet with an abusive parent. We can help prove your ex-spouse’s pattern of abuse and make your case for full custody. To get started, call our law firm today.

How Long Will It Take to Settle My California Pet Custody Case?

The answer to this question depends on a number of different factors. In the typical case, the court will consider your pet custody dispute in the context of your overall divorce case. 

As a result, the time to settle your custody battle will depend upon:

  • Whether a prenuptial agreement addresses the issue of pet custody
  • Whether the divorce is amicable or hotly contested
  • The value and nature of your assets
  • Whether you have children whose custody must also be determined
  • Whether spousal support is contested

As a general matter, the more complex your divorce, the longer it will take to resolve your pet custody matter. 

Our lawyers will do everything we can to help the divorce process run as smoothly as possible. Our team is skilled in mediation. We’ll use our skills to help you and your partner resolve as many issues as possible without the need for court intervention.

In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out for legal advice. We can help you reach a temporary pet custody arrangement and can work to find solutions for any overarching issues that might lengthen the timeline of your divorce proceedings.

We Handle All Types of Pet Custody Cases in San Diego

Thousands of San Diego residents adopt dogs and cats each year. Of course, the new pet custody laws apply when dividing custody of those animals in a divorce. However, the law applies to other pets as well.

At San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC, we handle all types of pet custody cases, including those involving:

  • Horses
  • Rabbits
  • Birds
  • Fish 
  • Turtles and Tortoises
  • Hamsters
  • Ferrets 
  • Guinea pigs

Your pet is an important part of your family. Our legal team recognizes that–and we’ll do whatever we can to help you get the best outcome possible in your case.

Are you interested in learning more about how we can help? Call our law firm in San Diego to schedule a complimentary consultation today.

Contact a San Diego Pet Custody Attorney for a Consultation

If you need help fighting to secure custody of your dog, cat, bird, or horse in San Diego or Orange County, you can count on the lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC. We know that you’re serious about securing the best possible life for your pet. For help in that endeavor, schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your legal options with an experienced San Diego pet custody attorney today.