Lagniappe (aka Blog)


Pets in Divorce - Don't Forget about Rover

Posted by Elise Buie | Mar 03, 2017 | 0 Comments

While many people view their pets as furry members of the family, the courts in Washington view domestic pets (such as dogs and cats) as personal property. Unlike children, where a parenting plan is established and custody may be shared. Pets are generally given to one party or the other; with courts dividing ownership along with the family home, car, and other personal property.

As in Washington, Rhode Island currently recognizes that pets are property, to be divided without necessarily regarding the animal's welfare in determining who the pet is slated to live with. However, a new law has been proposed to change that.

The Seattle Times published an article this week about the new law being proposed in Rhode Island to treat pets a little less like property in a divorce proceeding. The law would require that judges take into account the best interest of the animals when determining who would get custody of them during a divorce. This is not a new idea, with Alaska first paving the way for a pet “custody” over pet “property” approach; requiring the court to bear the pet's interest in mind when determining who would watch over them.

If you are concerned about pet custody in your divorce, your first stop should be to speak with an experienced legal team about your family law options; contact Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC. We provide a free consultation regarding your family law issues. Your attorney will be able to review the facts of your case and discuss your options with you. It is often in the divorcing pet owners' (and the pet's) best interest to reach an agreement amicably. For more about collaborative divorce, visit our website.

About the Author

Elise Buie

Passionate, creative, problem-solving attorney who crafts solutions rather than obstacles. Elise spends significant time educating her clients on healthy communication skills. Elise also ensures that her clients make informed decisions by understanding the future emotional and financial implications of their decisions. Your family's future is our first priority. Elise teaches her clients new skills to empower them in the future as they adjust to the new family structure. While divorce ends a marriage, it is the beginning of your new, often times, more authentic life. Elise will help you begin that new life with new skills to handle any future challenges.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Areas We Serve

At Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC, we represent clients from Seattle and Bellevue, Washington, and the surrounding region, including all of King County and the cities of Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, Edmonds, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kent, Federal Way, Shoreline, Des Moines, Bainbridge Island, Vashon, Auburn, Renton and Puyallup. We love working with clients from Seattle's unique, eclectic neighborhoods: West Seattle, Fremont, Ballard, Madrona, Queen Anne, Greenwood, Ravenna, Maple Leaf, Wedgewood, View Ridge, Laurelhurst, Windermere, Madison Park, Magnolia, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, Broadmoor, Phinney Ridge, Crown Hill, Yarrow Point and Mercer Island.

Contact Us

Call us at (206) 926-9848

We'll be happy to set up an initial consult. Thank you for looking around our site. We look forward to serving you.

We welcome your email, but please understand that if you are not already a client of Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC, we cannot represent you until we confirm that representing you would not create a conflict of interest. Please do not include any confidential information until we verify that our office is in a position to represent you and our engagement is confirmed in writing. Prior to that time, there is no legal representation and thus no attorney-client confidentiality.

Thank you.

Elise Buie Family Law Group


Elise Buie Family Law Group PLLC
1001 Fourth Avenue, 44th Floor   Seattle, WA 98154