Actress/former pop-star Mandy Moore is the in news lately (okay, the tabloids) for having requested “pet support” in her pending divorce from her indie rocker husband Ryan Adams. Some magazines read that she is requesting nearly $37,000.00 per in support to help pay for the divorcing couple’s eight pets, which include 6 cats and 2 dogs. According to various reports, Moore earns a third of what her husband earns.
While Moore’s request might seem outlandish, she is requesting that money as spousal support to help pay for all of her regular living expenses, which include pets costs. In actuality there is no such thing as “pet support”, notwithstanding what the gossip blogs say she is requesting.
So, if a party wants money to help pay for pet expenses it is a part of the request for maintenance. The Court otherwise views the pet as property and not like a child where the Court would determine what is in the child’s best interest and ensure that the parties determined a parenting schedule.
Parties warring over pets can always independently negotiate an agreement, without the Court’s assistance, that will allocate how they divide time with the pet. If they cannot decide, however, the Court will likely award the pet to the party who has the greater property interest in the animal based on who has historically supported it and who can afford it.