(provided by Eric C. Nelson, Esq.)
In Minnesota divorce law, dogs, cats, and other pets are considered personal property. So if you owned a pet prior to the marriage, or acquired it during the marriage by gift or inheritance, or with non-marital money, then that pet is your non-marital property. Otherwise, it is marital property, and may be awarded to either party.
When deciding which party to award a marital pet, a compelling argument is the pet's attachment to the children. If there are minor children involved, who are very attached to the pet, the Court will likely award the pet to whichever parent has primary residence of the children. Another compelling argument is which party cares most for the pet. If you can prove that you were the one primarily responsible for feeding the pet, taking it to the vet, walking it, etcetera, then you will be much more likely to be awarded the pet.
If you are not awarded the pet, you may still ask the Court for visitation rights. This is not common, but I've seen it granted.
* THE INFORMATION IN THIS ARTICLE IS NOT ADVICE FOR YOUR PARTICULAR CASE. FOR GUIDANCE ON YOUR SITUATION, CONSULT WITH ERIC C. NELSON, ATTORNEY. ALSO, THIS INFORMATION APPLIES ONLY TO MINNESOTA LAW, AND NOT TO THE LAW OF ANY OTHER STATE OR COUNTRY.
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