Pets in a Divorce

There is a very specific set of rules and regulations when you have children in a divorce: sometimes a custody battle may occur, sometimes it’s an amicable decision–but what happens to Fido?┬áIt is common for the family pet to stay with the parent who has primary custody, but this can always vary from case to case.

Just like your children, your pet is important, you should mention to your attorney that you have your cat or dog’s best interest in mind. You may want to mention that have a more flexible schedule, or are more prepared to handle any surprise vet bills, should your pet become sick.

When you are outlining your divorce, you may be able to compromise with your spouse on visitation of the pet, but that doesn’t always hold up in court if things go awry. The best thing you can try to do is create a compromise, and perhaps exchange a piece of your property for your pet.

If things become heated regarding Fido, you might want to think about taking your claim to the courthouse if you think you have a substantial case. Some of your justifications for wanting custody can include claiming your pet as personal property instead of joint property if you got the animal before you were married. If you have been taking care of the pet, you can think about obtaining a statement from a vet to prove that you had been bringing the animal in regularly.

Even matters such as space can be a helping factor in getting your pet; if you have a larger home or yard you may have more of a chance to convince the court that your dog or cat will be healthier with you. Like children, the animal should be with the spouse who can provide the most adequate care.

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