Riding and showing horses are popular pastimes in Colorado. For equestrians, horses are beloved companions whose value far exceeds their monetary worth.
If you are a horse owner facing a divorce, the fate of your animals is likely a top concern.
How can we decide who keeps the horse?
Property division is often contentious. Ideally, you and your spouse would settle the matter in mediation. However, not all couples can easily reach an agreement, which means the court must intervene.
The value of your horse is one factor in the decision. An equine appraiser can help determine the animal’s value. Other factors include which spouse is the horse’s primary caretaker, who is better able to care for the horse, and whether you have a prenuptial agreement in place.
Will I have to sell my horse?
In rare cases, the court can order that you sell your horse and divide its value equitably. However, this is generally a last resort. A more likely scenario is that the court may award you the horse while awarding your spouse a dollar amount equal to the horse’s value.
What if the horse belongs to my child?
If your child rides or shows the horse, is responsible for its care or has a strong bond with the animal, the court will generally take this into account. If you are the custodial parent and the horse is your child’s companion or therapy animal, it may be in everyone’s best interest for the horse to remain with you.
Deciding who gets the horse is far more complex than deciding who gets the house or the car. You stand the best chance of keeping your equine companion if you are able to meet the horse’s needs and are willing to compromise in other areas.