I have 3 dogs and have had cats in the past. I know the emotional attachment that can occur with pets. However, Probate and Family Court and the laws do not bring up the same sort of best interest standards that there is for a child or the emotional attachment piece. Under the law, pets are considered property; which limits the Judge’s ability to make what would be visitation orders.
In general, courts do not want to spend a lot time on pets. You can do a Visitation Order regarding pets that the courts will enforce. In addition, you can try and negotiate which would make more sense then having a Judge decide in terms of both the cost involved with attorneys, the time and how long it would take for the court to address it. Most Judges most of the time will not want to spend a lot of time on the issue or evaluate at the same level that the pet’s owners would be.
I have had a variety of both mediations and litigations where it was somewhat of an issue. In general, the parties are able to resolve it. Furthermore, you can go to conciliation, mediation or even arbitration in an extreme case to have a resolution that might be better than actually having a trial in front of a Judge.