Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, 66th Assembly District Manhattan, responded today to the adoption into law of her legislation, A.5775, which directs judges to consider the best interest of companion animals when awarding custody in divorce proceedings. Previous to this bill becoming law, companion animals were seen no differently than furniture or cars in divorce proceedings. Under the new law change, courts will now consider the wellbeing of companion animals before making a custody determination. This can include consideration of who spends the most time caring for the animal, or taking the animal to a veterinarian, or whom is the animal most bonded, among other factors.
Assemblymember Glick said, “When a marriage comes to an end, it is important that our beloved pets remain loved and cared for. Unfortunately, pets have been seen as yet another asset to equitably divide during divorce proceedings. In contentious splits, companion animal custody may be contested by an abusive or manipulative partner to exert leverage or exact revenge on their former partner. With this law now in effect, dogs, cats, and other companion animals will be considered by divorce courts as they should; as cherished members of the family that must reside in a safe and stable environment. I thank Governor Hochul for signing this bill into law.”