Connecticut divorce law currently treats pets as personal property and therefore, unless specific arrangements are made in an agreement or judgment concerning the pet, there are no laws to protect your rights where the dog or pet is involved. Therefore, if the parties can not come to terms with who will keep the dog, you will need to include a settlement agreement which covers care and custody of the pet.
If a judge finds the agreement to be fair, he or she can make it a part of the final divorce degree, which can be enforced under law. If the parties cannot agree on the care and custody of their pet, they could end up in a nasty, expensive dispute and you may be called upon to prove you are the legal owner, not just the better caregiver, in order to win. That is because the pet is considered personal property, just like the TV. If keeping the family pet(s) is something that is important to you when divorcing, we at Bacharach Law Firm will make it important in your agreement and final judgment.
Pets are many times the silent victims of domestic violence. They can not fight back and research has shown that up to 71% of battered women report their pet was harmed or killed by their partners. In October 2007, Governor Jodi Rell, signed into effect a law which permits courts to issue orders of protection for animals owned or kept by victims of family violence, stalking or harassment. The orders may prohibit respondents from injuring or threatening to injure the family pet. Many victims of violence stay in an abusive situation for fear of what will happen to the animal they leave behind. Almost half of battered women in Connecticut delay their escape for that reason.
Now, by protecting pets, the 2007 law eliminates the opportunity for abusers to continue to abuse their victims by not subjecting them to further intimidation and cruelty if a pet becomes a target. Ten US States now allow animal companions to be included in protective orders : California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, New York, Tennessee, and Vermont.