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Property Division: Who Gets The Pets?


Many people believe that a house is not a home without a pet. As such, when two people are getting a divorce, there can be serious disputes over who gets to retain ownership of their pets, because of their emotional value. The answer can be determined by a host of different factors, but either way, having an attorney on your side may be a good idea as you go through your case.

Pets Are Property (Usually)

Currently, Nevada has no laws which govern the specific distribution of pets during asset division. Pets are seen as personal property, rather than as members of the household, meaning that their value is assessed only in terms of monetary amounts – in the same way as, say, a painting or a television.

In a perfect world, spouses would be able to work together and determine a fair solution – if a pet is more one spouse’s than the other’s, in theory the first spouse would be permitted to take it. However, sometimes such negotiation is not possible for couples, and pets can be, and commonly are, used as leverage in trying to ‘trade’ for other assets. It has become more and more common in recent years for courts to have to decide these issues, rather than the spouses themselves.

Subjective Considerations Often Assessed

If a pet was acquired while the parties were married, it is considered community property. However, it is not uncommon for Nevada judges to take other considerations into account when making this type of determination, such as who takes care of the pet the most and who is more emotionally attached to the pet. They will also assess any monetary value of the pet – for example, if a pet is purebred or is a show animal.

Nevada’s law on community property states that the court will divide the community property equally, “to the extent practicable” – in other words, if there is a justifiable reason for an unequal division, the court has the authority to do so. So, if most of your and your spouse’s assets are easily divisible, but you clash over your purebred dog, the judge may award the dog to either one of you without overstepping their authority, assuming that they do due diligence in assessing its value.

Contact A Nevada Divorce Attorney

If you have a question or concerns about your divorce and ensuring you get to keep your pet, calling an experienced Las Vegas divorce lawyer is a good idea. The Kainen Law Group works hard to keep up with advances in the law, and will work hard to assist you with your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


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