Florida divorce law treats pets as “personal marital property,” just like as cars, jewelry, baseball cards, comic books, tools and furniture.
In 2d DCA in, Harby v. Harby, the former wife argued that she should receive the pets because the dogs were bonded to each other, and one of the dogs was her emotional support animal.
In the Harby decision, the Court reviewed the “law of pets and divorce” in several different states, where pets have special property status. However, this Florida Court concluded that Florida is not one of the states that gives pets special consideration in a divorce. Specifically, in Florida a court cannot “grant custody or visitation pertaining to personal property.” (Personal property being the pet does in this divorce case).
However, the Appellate Court did make clear that a trial court may consider a divorcing spouse’s sentimental interest in property – such as the ordinary attachment a divorcing spouse may have to a pet.
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Robert Stein, Esq.
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