House Bill #5580 (2021)

AN ACT RELATING TO DOMESTIC RELATIONS -- DIVORCE AND SEPARATION

Creates a custody procedure for pets in divorce and separation proceedings based on the best interests of the animal. This act would not apply to assistance/service animals.

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Changes since original draft

  • 2021 – H 5580
  • 2021 – H 5580 AS AMENDED
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  • LC000899
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  • S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
  • S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
  • IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2021
  • ____________
  • A N A C T
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO DOMESTIC RELATIONS – DIVORCE AND SEPARATION
  • Introduced By: Representative C Lima
  • Date Introduced: February 12, 2021
  • Referred To: House Judiciary
  • It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
  • SECTION1.Chapter15-5oftheGeneralLawsentitled"DivorceandSeparation"ishereby amended by adding thereto the following section:
  • 15-5-30. Custody of domestic companion animals – Pets.
  • (a) In awarding sole possession of a domestic companion animal in a divorce or separation proceeding, the court shall consider the best interest of the animal and shall consider, but not be limited to, the following:
  • (a) In awarding sole possession or ownership of a domestic companion animal in a divorce or separation proceeding, the court shall consider the best interest of the animal and shall consider, but not be limited to, the following:
  • (1) Which party owned the animal first or whether they purchased or acquired the animal together following marriage;
  • (2) Which party assumed most of the responsibility for tending to the animal's needs including, but not limited to, feeding, walking, grooming, and veterinarian visits;
  • (3) Which party spent more time on a regular basis with the animal;
  • (4) What living arrangement is in the best interest of the animal in question;
  • (5) Who presently wants custody and the proximity of the parties to one another to enable shared custody; and
  • (5) Who presently wants sole possession or ownership and the proximity of the parties to one another to enable shared custody; and
  • (6) Whether there are children involved in caring for the animal and the nature of their attachment to the animal, including consideration of which parent has custody of the children, and whether it is in the best interests of the children to keep the animal in their domicile for care and affection.
  • (b) In awarding joint custody possession of a domestic companion animal, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following:
  • (1) How long the animal will stay with each party to the animal custody determination;
  • (b) In awarding joint possession of a domestic companion animal, the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following:
  • (1) How long the animal will stay with each party to the animal possession determination;
  • (2) How veterinary visits and costs shall be handled;
  • (3) Who shall be responsible for basic needs of the animal including, but not limited to, food, toys, pet sitting, and daycare expenses while the animal is in each party's home; and
  • (4) Any additional criteria the court determines relevant to the care and custody of the animal.
  • (4) Any additional criteria the court determines relevant to the care and possession of the animal.
  • (c) Either party to a divorce or separation proceeding pursuant to this chapter may petition the court in a form prescribed by the court for the temporary allocation of sole or joint possession of and responsibility for the companion animal jointly owned by the parties, and at any time prior to the court's decision, the parties may also enter into an agreement allocating the sole or joint ownership or responsibility for the companion animal.
  • (d) If the court finds that a companion animal of the parties is a marital asset, it shall allocate the sole or joint ownership of and responsibility for a companion animal of the parties. In issuing an order under this subsection, the court shall take into consideration the well-being of the companion animal under the standards set forth in this section.
  • (e) As used in this section, "companion animal" means a domesticated animal or pet and shall not include assistance animals (also called service animals), which are defined as any animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
  • SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.
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  • LC000899
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  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • OF
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO DOMESTIC RELATIONS – DIVORCE AND SEPARATION
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  • This act would create a custody procedure for pets in divorce and separation proceedings based on the best interests of the animal. This act would not apply to assistance/service animals.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC000899 ========

Votes

NOTE: Electronic voting records are unofficial and may not be accurate. For an official vote tally, check the House or Senate Journal from the day of the vote.

Floor vote for PASSAGE

June 13, 2019 at 4:59pm
Yeas: 62 / Nays: 7 / Not voting: 6 / Recused: 0
Legislator Vote
Rep. Abney Y
Rep. Ackerman Y
Rep. Ajello Y
Rep. Almeida Y
Rep. Alzate Y
Rep. Amore Y
Rep. Azzinaro Y
Rep. Barros Y
Rep. Bennett Y
Rep. Blazejewski Y
Rep. Caldwell Y
Rep. Canario Y
Rep. Carson NV
Rep. Casey NV
Rep. Casimiro Y
Rep. Cassar Y
Rep. Chippendale N
Rep. Cortvriend NV
Rep. Corvese Y
Rep. Costantino Y
Rep. Craven Y
Rep. Diaz Y
Rep. Donovan Y
Rep. Edwards Y
Rep. Fellela Y
Rep. Filippi N
Rep. Fogarty Y
Rep. Handy Y
Rep. Hawkins Y
Rep. Hull Y
Rep. Jackson NV
Rep. Jacquard Y
Rep. Johnston Y
Rep. Kazarian Y
Rep. Kennedy Y
Rep. Kislak Y
Rep. Knight Y
Rep. Lima Y
Rep. Lombardi Y
Rep. Lyle Y
Rep. Maldonado Y
Rep. Marszalkowski Y
Rep. Mattiello Y
Rep. McEntee Y
Rep. McKiernan Y
Rep. McLaughlin Y
Rep. McNamara Y
Rep. Mendez Y
Rep. Messier Y
Rep. Millea Y
Rep. Morin NV
Rep. Nardone N
Rep. Newberry N
Rep. Noret Y
Rep. O'Brien Y
Rep. Phillips Y
Rep. Place N
Rep. Price N
Rep. Quattrocchi N
Rep. Ranglin-Vassell Y
Rep. Roberts NV
Rep. Ruggiero Y
Rep. Serodio Y
Rep. Serpa Y
Rep. Shanley Y
Rep. Shekarchi Y
Rep. Slater Y
Rep. Solomon Y
Rep. Speakman Y
Rep. Tanzi Y
Rep. Tobon Y
Rep. Ucci Y
Rep. Vella-Wilkinson Y
Rep. Walsh Y
Rep. Williams Y