Pets are people, too. At least they now have the same status in California when it comes to couples who have chosen to divorce and who can’t agree on with whom Fido or Fluffy is going to live. A judge can now make that decision in the same way he or she makes a decision on child custody, if parents can’t agree. So, pets are no longer simply property like a sofa or table is considered to be.

What that means is, if a judge needs to choose who gets the family pet, he or she will be able to consider such things as who takes the most care of the pet, who walks the dog, who brushes the cat and who cleans out the litter box. This is good news for pet lovers. People usually consider their pets members of the family. 

The bill, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, is set to become law on Jan. 1 next year. In the past, judges made decisions on who they believed the pet liked better, or even made suggestions that one person take one pet and another take the other pet if there were more than one. That only caused more angst and bad feelings.

Laws governing divorce are constantly in flux. A California divorce attorney will be aware of those changes and how they may affect his or her clients. It is best to keep a divorce out of the courts, but when it does happen and serious decisions have to be made, it would be helpful to have an experienced legal team to offer guidance and advice.