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Getting Divorced? Michigan Law Says This About The Family Pet


Getting divorced is often a difficult, stressful and painful situation that can have lasting consequences for everyone involved. That’s particularly true for couples with children, who will have a number of decisions to make about where the kids should live and how they should be cared for and raised. Even when child custody and support issues are not in the mix, there are often a number of complicated legal issues, like how a couples’ assets should be divided when they split.

And then there’s the family pet.

What happens to Rover the family dog and/or other furry creatures following a divorce usually isn’t the first question that comes up when a couple decides to call it quits. Nevertheless, it’s an important issue that divorcing spouses should consider and which can shed some light on how Michigan family law works.

Generally, a family pet purchased or otherwise obtained during a marriage is considered marital property under Michigan state law. Marital property, unlike separate assets that each spouse brings to the marriage, is generally divided among the spouses in the event of divorce.

Often, that means a 50-50 split. Courts are required, however, to consider a number of factors to determine what is equitable in any given situation. That includes the ages and respective earning capacities of each spouse, as well as their health and financial needs and each spouse’s conduct during the marriage.

Of course, a dog or other pet can’t exactly be split in half. Instead, the spouse who keeps the pet may have to compensate the other spouse for his or her interest in the animal. That can also be done by giving the person another marital asset of similar value.

How our Grand Rapids Divorce Lawyers Can Help You

If you’re thinking about separating or getting a divorce, it’s critical that you seek the advice and counsel of an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer can help you consider your rights and options and pursue a strategy that works for your individual circumstances.

In some cases, that means working with your former spouse to come up with an agreement that’s mutually acceptable to both of you. In others, the only option may be to go to court and let a judge sort out some or all of the legal questions related to the divorce.

At Kraayeveld Law, our Grand Rapids divorce lawyers have been representing people in divorce and other family law matter for more than a quarter of a century. Our lawyers combine decades of experience in complex matters to help people efficiently untangle their marriages.

We are conveniently located in Grand Rapids. Call 616-285-0808 or contact us online to make an appointment to speak with a Grand Rapids divorce lawyer about you situation.