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Pets and Divorce

Posted by Daniel Norland | Apr 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Should your beloved companions be treated as family? Or as property?

This Friday's post considers an issue I have seen raise its head multiple times in divorce proceedings. What happens to a couple's beloved furry (or scaly if that's your thing) pets in a divorce? Certainly, to most people, our pets are far more important to us than the dining room set, or the bedroom furniture. However, Wisconsin divorce law treats pets as property to be distributed the same way as the exercise equipment or kitchen appliances. To most people, myself included, this fact represents one of many areas where the law does not accurately reflect reality. Most of us consider our pets as part of the family. They mean more to us than normal property items. We love them in a way we do not love our big screen TVs. And they love us back, and have feelings and emotions of their own. 

There are many ways to address this deficiency in divorce law. Some people are proponents of changing the law so that pets are essentially treated the same as children in a divorce. Some people are proponents of keeping the law as it is, and treating our pets like any other property item we own. Perhaps there is a middle ground. Some states have addressed this problem in their family law statutes already. The article below highlights one example. What do you think? Should pets be treated differently in divorce actions?

About the Author

Daniel Norland

I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in December 2006. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison Law School in 2010 and chose to move back to the Coulee Region to begin my legal career. I decided to open my own law practice and have never regre...


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