Q: How are pets handled in an Arizona divorce?
Phoenix divorce attorneys counsel clients on the many different factors and issues involved in an Arizona divorce. It’s not uncommon for a client to come in blaming their spouse for the impending divorce.
Does fault matter in an Arizona divorce?
With the exception of the statistically rare “covenant marriage”—a marriage entered into after a couple undergoes pre-marital counseling—Arizona is a no-fault divorce state. That means that a spouse does not have to prove the other spouse was to blame or engaged in a particular behavior (like adultery) in order to get a divorce. They merely have to allege that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”.
Just as fault is irrelevant as grounds for a divorce (except for covenant marriages), it is similarly irrelevant when it comes to determining spousal maintenance and how marital property will be divided.
It’s a good thing fault doesn’t need to be proven since couples generally air damaging facts privately and behind closed doors where they think no one is listening. Except the pets.
Who gets the pets in an Arizona divorce?
Because Arizona legally considers pets to be personal property and a judge will award the pet to one spouse if they can’t agree, some couples are now creating pet custody plans based on visitation and shared custody principles. Because many people consider pets part of the family, each partner may stake a claim to a pet acquired during their marriage. It’s less common for neither to want, or end up with, the family pet. But it happens.
Recently, a family rescued a 23-year-old parrot that plucked its own feathers, reportedly out of stress from living with its bickering prior owners while they went through a nasty divorce. The parrot’s new owners report the bird constantly curses at people and repeats the divorced couple’s arguments. The new family finds the expletives hysterical and is happy to be able to give this stressed-out bird a new and stable home. If fault mattered in divorce and parrot “testimony” was an admissible thing, this pet reportedly would have had a lot to say. Even so, some pets can talk, so watch what you say in their presence if you don’t want it repeated.
If you are considering getting divorced in Arizona, have been served with divorce papers, or have any other questions regarding a family law matter, Cohen Family Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
From our offices in Phoenix, we help clients in Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale and throughout the state of Arizona in all aspects of family law. It’s all we do. We are committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive legal representation and emotional support as you navigate the transition to a happier phase of life.