Pet custody was recently in the local news in a story by Seattle Times reporter Erik Lacitis: Kona and Mr. Bear. In that Clark County case, the divorce court had originally given the wife visitation rights to two dogs that were primarily living with the husband. The Court of Appeals ruled, however, that as dogs are property, there is no allowance in the law for visitation rights. Therefore it is now up to the ex-husband to decide whether to allow the ex-wife any further contact with the dogs.
Apparently a few states (Alaska, Illinois and California) have passed laws allowing for joint ownership of animals in divorce, but not Washington State. The case may be appealed to the Washington Supreme Court, but I would not give good odds of the result changing there.
What does this mean for you? It means that if you are getting divorced and have