Who Gets the Pets When You Get a Divorce?

Who Gets the Pets When You Get a Divorce?

March 29, 2021 Off By Glespynorson

When pets are a part of the family it creates a tricky dynamic when couples split up get divorced. People know that when kids are involved there has to be a custody hearing to figure out who should be their primary caregiver. Not nearly as much attention is put on pets in the same situation.

A divorce can be quite traumatic even for a cat or a dog. They have a routine that gets disrupted and even can feel heartbreak when they are no longer in the life of one of their owners.

It is a delicate situation and is not easy to navigate if there is a contest on who should get the pets. In this article, we will go over what the process is like when getting a divorce and figuring out what to do with pets.

Keep the Pets and Kids Together

One way to solve the problem before it heads to court is to think about the kids. This is a rough time for them and anything that can make the transition easier should be considered.

Keeping the kids and the pets together will help both the kids and the pets during this trying time. And if there are two or more pets that have a bond together it is best to keep them together as well. Breaking them up will be traumatic and could even lead to depression.

If custody is shared and on a schedule then you can also put the pets on the same schedule so that both of you will have access to them in a practical way.

Consider the Housing Situation

Keeping the pets in an environment that is suited for them is the best way forward. If one of you is staying in the family home then this is the one that should probably keep the pets as it is already set up perfectly for them.

Otherwise, there should be an evaluation of what the house and outdoors situation is. In case one of you is moving to an apartment, there could be pet clauses that prohibit them so this would not be a good idea. Also, if the apartment is small with little possibility to be outdoors then this would not be good for a dog for instance.

Even the schedule has a lot to do with the well-being of the pets. If one of you travels a lot then this is not going to be good for them no matter what the housing situation is like.

What is the Motivation?

An evaluation has to be made about why one of you should have pets, to begin with. Was there a bond between you and the pet, or are you simply looking to add extra hardship to your ex-spouse? Or, maybe it is the reverse and your ex is just looking to make life difficult in the event of a nasty divorce.

Ask your lawyer to make a legal argument for you to have pet custody in the event that there can’t be an amicable agreement.