Horses are a popular passion for many couples in California’s Central Valley. A love of horses and equestrian sports might have brought you and your spouse together. Now that you are facing a divorce, however, you must make a difficult decision about your animals.
If you and your spouse own horses together, there are a few different ways to determine who should keep them in the divorce.
Work it out in mediation
If you and your spouse are both willing, you may be able to come to an agreement with the help of an impartial mediator.
Mediation can help divorcing couples work through complex issues, such as property division and child custody, without having to go to court. The mediator’s role is not to make decisions for you but rather to guide the conversation so that you and your spouse can reach an agreement.
Agree to share ownership
Co-ownership is common in the horse world. If you and your spouse get along well enough to communicate regularly and share responsibilities, it may be possible for you to remain co-owners of your animals.
Let a judge decide
Generally, a judge will treat your horses like any other marital property, but there are some unique factors to take into account. These include the monetary value of the horses, your ability to care for them and the division of day-to-day care responsibilities. If the horses are part of a business, such as a riding school, this will influence the decision.
Dividing marital property during a divorce can be a difficult and highly emotional process. Mediation can help you and your spouse make the right decision for your animals and your circumstances, but if you are at an impasse, the court must make the decision for you.