Under the current law, there is no remedy for couples who want custody or visitation of their pets. Even if a couple agrees to a visitation schedule, Judges do not have the authority to uphold it in the court of law and incorporate it into the couples divorce decree. Companion animals are considered a part of marital property. That makes it difficult for a court to determine how to provide a resolution. The court must view the pet as property and the best interests of property cannot be determined. This leaves the decision to the couple. If the couple cannot make the decision, the court often views the family pet as property. This limitation gives the court few options, such as giving the pet to one of the spouses, giving the other spouse the monetary value of the pet or selling the pet and dividing the proceeds between the couple.
Alternatively, there are anti-cruelty laws that some courts may use as authority in determining which spouse gets ownership of the family pet. In those instances, the court may consider the best interests of the pet. These courts seem to take into account the emotional aspect of pet custody. Pet owners spend a large amount of money on their family pets and often regard them as children. Some courts are beginning to consider this trend when applying the law and making their determination. However, this view is in the minority. Most courts will not extend the best interest’s standard to animals. Therefore, the majority of the courts are still relying on property law when deciding the custody of a companion animal.