Who Gets the Pet in a Pennsylvania Divorce Action?

Pets have become family in our households, so what happens to pets in the event of a divorce?  Many parties often ask this question.

Pa. C.S.A. Section 3502 sets the guidelines for distribution of property as opposed to custody or visitation, which considers pet as personal property.  Since a dog or cat has been declared to be similar to a table or lamp, unfortunately, that is the section to which the court will look when there is a conflict over pet “ownership.” It is not that the courts are unwilling to consider the custody and visitation arrangements, but, unfortunately, the legislature has not given the courts authority to do so.

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