How to Decide Pet Custody During a Divorce

Emotions run high during divorce proceedings. When you married, you hoped it would be forever. Now that you’ve decided to part ways, you are also choosing to part out your home and belongings. While they aren’t a possession to you, your beloved pet is one of the things you must consider. Choosing who gets Fido or Fifi is often one of the toughest decisions of a divorce. Establishing a pet custody agreement is an easy way to take the guesswork and stress out of it.

Most companion animals are still considered property. In the eyes of the law, they are the equal to a piece of furniture or artwork. Many organizations are working to have this changed. But for now, the situation will have to deal with emotionless facts. These are the questions that a judge or arbitrator will want asked and answered:

  • Who bought, adopted or came into the relationship with the pet?
  • Who spends the most quality time with the animal now?
  • If there are children in the home, are they attached to the animal? If so, where will they be living? Can the animal stay with them?
  • Once the household divides will there be ample space for the animal’s comfort and safety at each home?
  • Is it possible to divide the animal’s time between the two households in an amicable manner?
  • Who will be responsible for the animal’s expenses? These could include food, veterinary services, medicines, treats, training, grooming, walking/pet sitter, etc. Can an agreement be worked out to share in expenses as well as time?
  • Will the animal spend a lot of quality time with the person(s) they’re living with? Human interaction is of utmost importance.

Don’t forget that this is a major upheaval in the lives of your furry loved ones too. Every consideration should be made to ease their transition into the new normal.

To learn how we can help with your legal needs, contact Beckman Steen & Lungstrom, P.A. Families come first with us.