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Pet Custody is a hot topic in divorce proceedings. There is no question… our pets are our children.

Man and woman fighting over a dog

Have you seen all the stories in the news, social media and internet circles about separating couples including their pet in their divorce decrees and pet custody arrangements. Couples fight over their pets like they fight over their children. Unfortunately, often, especially when there is no legal dissolution due to marriage, a pet is viewed by the courts as property.

The conversation on pet custody in relation to a divorce decree can proceed as the couple and their agents and mediators find best. If the divorce goes through court hearings, there is not currently a national or statewide precedent for assigning pet custody. There are, however, judges sprinkled around the country who have made decisions based on “the best interest of the pet.” This is the same consideration participation in mediation will present.

Pet Custody in the best interest of the pet.

  • If there are also child custody, consider the pet’s relationship with the children and would keeping them together be most beneficial.
  • Pet’s need care and attention. Consider which party has a more suitable lifestyle and schedule to care for the pet.
  • Who will have the best financial means to care for the pet?

Agree on Pet Custody before the decision is in some else’s hands.

  • Consider shared custody
  • Put your mutual agreement into writing, hold yourself and the other person accountable to remember your pet’s best interest.

Determine how important your pet is in the scheme of things and decide what other property you may be willing to sacrifice in a compromise.

If you are not able to come to a mutual agreement before proceedings or mediation be sure your attorney understand how important your pet is.

If Pet Custody ends up in front of a judge be prepared to prove your case in the following areas:

  • Did you have the pet before you got married, proving that he was premarital property.
  • Have you been the primary caregiver of the pet.
  • Can you show that you have more time to care for the pet.
  • Can you provide a better environment for the pet, i.e. a yard, proximity to the park, etc.

If your pet is important enough to arrange for pet custody, get your ducks in a row, get custody of your best friend!

Pet Custody

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