In Florida, Can I Have Pet Visitation Established in My Divorce?

Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.

974025_dressed_dogs.jpgPet visitation is often a request I get as a Jacksonville divorce lawyer. Often, clients come in asking what will happen with their pet in the divorce and whether they can have visitation. While pets do feel like a child to many people and families, the law has not really caught-up. Florida law indicates that property is to be equally divided and that if there are children that there be a parenting and time-sharing plan; however, Florida does not provide a separate law for family pets.
How can I have visitation with my pet if Florida law does not provide it? In a divorce you are required to attend mediation where you may be able to reach agreements regarding the divorce. If you reach an agreement regarding the pets, then you will want that agreement put into a partial order with the following information: where they will live; how often the other party will get to visit; and where the visitation will take place. Once both parties sign the agreement, then the order can be signed by the court and it is enforceable if one party fails to comply.
However, without an agreement in mediation the court may simply divide the property and the judge can determine which party to place the pets with. If you have questions regarding this matter you should speak with an experienced family law attorney.