California just signed into law a new bill (Assembly Bill 2274) which will address the treatment of pets both during and after a divorce or legal separation. Beginning January 1, 2019 there will be an enhancement to the legal designation of pet animals. Whereas before this date, pets were considered property and as such were subject to community property rules, now there is a broader definition.
The parties to a divorce or legal separation can address the sole or joint ownership of the pet along with the appropriate care of the animal during the divorce proceeding as well as when the proceeding is over. States like Alaska and Illinois have already adopted similar laws.
This means that either party could request sole or joint custody of the pet which would also ensure the proper care and well being of the animal both during the divorce or legal separation procedure as well as after these procedures are finalized.
This is a win for animal activists who felt that pet animals were not dealt with in a fair manner by the courts. Now, the welfare of the pet is also taken into consideration.
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