Help Ease the Transitions of Divorce by Using the Family Pet

Help Ease the Transitions of Divorce by Using the Family Pet

In a previous post, Melissa Towsey explores the question of what happens to a family’s pet in a divorce proceeding. In Pennsylvania, the short answer to that question is simple: pets are treated as property and a such they will be allocated as a part of equitable distribution. However families who have been through a divorce that involved pets will tell you that the application of this bright-line rule is not so simple. Because pets can (and often do) become part of the family, families don’t think of them as being comparable to a living room set or a pool table. On top of that, one of the main goals in a divorce that involves children is providing them with as much stability as possible during their transition from having one home to having two.

Where possible, families may want to explore the possibility of having the family pet travel with the children between parents’ homes. Children whose parents have decided to divorce typically find themselves in a transitional period that can affect their behavior, their development, and especially their relationship with mom and with dad. By making sure that their lifelong best friend travels with them from mom’s to dad’s and back, parents can provide their children with a source of stability and comfort during this tumultuous time. As an added perk, each parent gets to see the family pet that they have formed their own bond with over the course of his or her life.

While the Pennsylvania Divorce Code may treat family pets as articles of personal property, a family who is undergoing a divorce doesn’t have to. You should always work with your ex to find ways that each of you can lessen the impact that your divorce will have on your children’s well-being. Stability can often-times be scarce in these situations. Making sure that your children always have their pet along for the ride with them will ease their transition into each of their new homes.

To schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys or for further information, call us at LaMonaca Law, at (610) 892-3877


About the author

About Christopher Casserly

Chris joined the firm in 2013 after graduating from Villanova University School of Law. While at Villanova Chris focused on Family Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution. In addition, he participated in the Villanova Law Civil Justice Clinic where he advocated for indigent clients facing custody issues. Prior to attending law school, Chris received his B.A. from Providence College where he studied English and French. Chris is a Supervising Attorney and Team Leader at LaMonaca Law. Chris was named a “Top Lawyer” in Family Law by Main Line Today in 2015 and 2017, as well as a Best Lawyer in the area of Adoption in the Delaware County Daily Times. He is a member of the American Bar Association Family Law Section, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and the Delaware County Bar Association, where he serves as chair of the Family Law Section’s Custody Committee. When he’s not advocating for his clients, Chris enjoys cooking, all things Seinfeld-related, and being at the shore with his family and their dog, Molly.