5 Things To Know About Custody Of Pets In Divorce

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Nov 23, 2021

Settling a divorce is not easy since emotions are still high. The chances are that the ex-couples are still hurt and disappointed that their marriage did not work. It is even more painful when you have built a life together and have children and pets. While things like property are easy to subdivide and decide which partner takes what, it can be emotionally draining choosing which partner takes the kids and pets. 

The attachment you both have makes it even more challenging to let go. However, divorce being a legal process, requires that everything follows a specific pattern. There are a few things each of the partners must understand when dealing with pets in a divorce. Consider the 5 points outlined below to know what works for you.

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  1. The Responsible Partner Takes the Pets 

Both partners can have the pet as long as there is some form of agreement. For that, you may need comfort and space such as folding dog playpens that the pet can identify regardless of where it spends its days. However, if this is not a viable option, one of the first things the court considers when granting custody is the cost of responsibility. 

The person who acquired the dog, paid for its food, medical bills, and other expenses is more likely to be given custody. However, in case you argued otherwise and were not responsible for the pet's upkeep, then you should be prepared to reimburse your ex-partner all they spent on the pet's upkeep. Also during the entire process, it is important to calm your pet,

  1. Courts Consider Care

It is possible that you did not pay for the pet's acquisition. However, this is not a reason for you to panic since the courts will be interested in knowing who cared for the pet when you were together. The primary caregiver is likely to get custody even when they did not buy the dog or pet. It is essential to have evidence of this by providing photographic proof of you walking the dog, taking it to the vet, or generally spending more time with it. 

Note that the court is interested in leaving the pet with the person who is likely to make it healthier and happy. Ensure you can prove that you are the ideal partner in this case.

  1. Make Sure you Have the Pet During the Divorce Proceedings

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If you have an intelligent attorney, they will advise you to keep the pet during the proceedings. The judge is likely to consider you a befitting custodian because you chose to be with your pet even when things were not ideal. Generally, it appears as though you are the primary caregiver who loves your pet enough to fight for it during the divorce. Your aim should be to ensure everyone sees your genuine concern. The day can be long and tiring so it's important to be well prepared in advance. Don't forget to take all your pet's essentials such as Dogfood, coat, Collar, etc along with you. You can also consider reading Dog Collar Buying Guide before buying for the day. 

  1. Avoid Stealing the Pet Even If You Love It More

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Even as you fight to gain custody of your dog or pet, be careful not to make the mistake that many homeowners do. Desperation may push you to imagine that taking a short way out is the best move. Unfortunately, this only portrays you as an irresponsible custodian who does not understand how to deal with conflict. 

Consequently, the judge may rule against you not because you do not have your dog's best interests but simply because you were not patient enough to await due diligence. Request official permission from the court to see your pet if you are restricted. Divorces can be messy, but they do not have to be when partners remain cordial and open. The pet deserves love from both its parents and should be the priority in this case. As such, focus on ensuring this happens with minimum or no stress. 

  1. Be Open to Sharing Custody

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While things may not be working between you, both of you may still love pets. Considering how you both care and love the pet, work out a plan that allows you to share. Just like it is with shared child custody, decide on the days each partner will have the pet over at their place and for how long. 

You can also agree on the modalities of returning the pet, especially if you do not want to be in each other's spaces. However, if the divorce is cordial and you have chosen to part ways without unnecessary fights, then it will be easy to deal with the dogs. It is even better when you are still friends since it will be easy to deal with each other without stressing the pet and forcing it to choose when it loves both of you.

Final Thoughts

Divorce cases and processes are never easy, to begin with. However, sometimes they are inevitable and necessary for one's peace of mind. When it gets to such a point where people must part ways, it is imperative to decide how to split what you jointly own. It means that you need to choose where your pets will go even as you share the other properties. However, pets and kids are a sensitive topic because of the emotional investment involved in the entire process. When ex-partners agree on how to handle things, it becomes easy to proceed. However, when it is a complicated procedure, the judge will decide according to what works best for the pet. In the end, the pet's interest and safety will always come first.

Articles authored by Rebecca Grey

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