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Who gets custody of a pet after divorce?

| Jun 30, 2021 | Family Law

Pets are part of the family these days, which makes issues related to pets and divorce so much more difficult. Coming to an agreement with your ex about matters like property division and spousal support is hard enough. When both of you are vying for ownership of a beloved pet, the divorce process becomes even harder.

According to Kiplinger, views of pet custody after divorce are changing around the country. While pets were mostly considered property in the past, courts today are taking a different approach.

Pets as custody vs. pets as family members

For many years, courts looked at pets as a form of personal property. As a result, the spouse who purchased the pet, or was responsible for the majority of its care from a financial perspective, could claim they were the true owner.

While many courts still take this approach, some others are looking at pet disputes during divorce as a custody issue. Accordingly, these courts make decisions regarding pet custody with the best interest of the animal in mind.

Tips on creating your own pet custody agreement

If you and your ex-spouse would like to share custody of your pet, make sure you develop a solid written agreement. Touch on physical custody, such as who gets the pet on which days, as well as legal custody, such as who makes decisions about the pet’s medical care. You should also create terms regarding moving and whether the pet can leave the state.

It is in you and your ex’s best interests to develop a pet custody agreement that works for both of you. That way, you can both enjoy time with your beloved pet while also allowing the other party the same privilege.