We previously posted about Senate Bill S4248 which, if enacted, would add a fifteenth factor to New York’s equitable distribution statute to allow courts to consider the best interests of a companion animal when awarding possession in a divorce action.

Since this previous post, Senate Bill S4248 was signed by Governor Hochul on October 25, 2021, thus officially amending Domestic Relations Law (“DRL”) § 236 to include the following factor:

  • In awarding the possession of a companion animal, the court shall consider the best interest of such animal. “Companion animal”, as used in this subparagraph, shall have the same meaning as in subdivision five of section three hundred fifty of the agriculture and markets law.

As previously noted, “[t]he purpose of this legislation is to ensure that the best interests of pets are taken into consideration during divorce or separation proceedings.”[1]

Samantha Guido focuses her practice on all aspects of matrimonial and family law, including contested proceedings regarding the equitable distribution of substantial real property and assets, child support and spousal maintenance, paternity, custody and access, and order modification and enforcement. Samantha believes that all clients deserve significant attention as they navigate the court system. She strives to achieve resolutions that minimize conflict but acts as a zealous advocate on behalf of her clients in the courtroom when litigation cannot be avoided.

The material in this blog is meant only to provide general information and is not a substitute nor is it legal advice to you. Readers of this article should seek specific legal advice from legal counsel of their choice. In the event that you need legal assistance regarding matrimonial and/or family law matters, Samantha can be reached at sguido@jaspanllp.com or (516) 393-8250.

[1] https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2021/s4248