It’s a tough thing to think about when you’re going through a divorce, but your beloved pets are a part of the family. It’s made even tougher because the courts consider pets as property, the same as your coffee maker or end table.
Due to the increasing number of pet custody cases, many judges are beginning to look at ways to help couples make the best decision about where the family pet should live after a divorce.
Some states have awarded shared custody, and visitation after reviewing testimony from the parties as well as experts regarding what’s in the pets’ long-term interest.
It’s probably a good idea to work with a mediator to help work through your divorce. A mediator can also help you answer questions when deciding who gets custody of your pets.
Who is moving?
This matters because some pets don’t do well with big changes in their surroundings. They feel the stress just like the humans going through the turmoil of divorce.
Who gets custody of the children?
For one couple, the wife is going to have custody of their two children because the husband’s job requires a lot of travel. Because you want to do everything you can to ease children through a divorce, leaving the family pet with them is the best choice.
Other issues to be considered include:
- Financial capability to care for a pet for the rest of its expected life span
- Do you have a flexible work schedule or someone who can help you with the pet while you’re at work?
- Has your spouse neglected the pet’s basic needs or been abusive toward the animal?
- Who will have more space for the dog to exercise and play after the divorce?
It is important to negotiate a signed and dated agreement with your soon-to-be-ex before or during the divorce to avoid the headache of filing expensive paper work after the divorce is final.
If you have questions about pet custody, consult our Online Legal Directory for an attorney in your area. While divorce is never easy, one of our attorneys can help you work through all of the issues you will face. Even the issue of who gets the dog.