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Who Gets the Pets in a Divorce?

Deciding on a kids’ care, visitation, and support is the most popular issue that couples argue about during a divorce. Yet there is one more problem that many more couples don’t know how to resolve: who gets the dog in a divorce? How to care about your pet and those you got in marriage? Is court litigation the only way to decide on the custody of dogs in divorce? In this post, we’ll try to shed light on these questions. 

How Does it Usually Go? 

First of all, let’s see what judges do most of the time when it comes to deciding on the fate of pets during the divorce process

If a pet had been bought by either of the partners before they got married, it is considered to be their sole property. Therefore, judges tend to state that their owner will get custody over their dog or cat, and the other partner has nothing to do with them. 

But if partners get a pet in marriage, judges doubt whether they can order only one partner to be a sole custodian. As a result, they offer this issue to be resolved by a couple on its own, which causes the case to be postponed several times. Neither of the partners is ready to give up their beloved dog or kitten. And what can you do now? 

What Should you Take Into Account When Deciding on Pets Custody? 

There are a few things that you have to consider before starting a fight with your partner over your pet. Remember that you need to think about the comfort of your dog instead of trying to take it away from your partner at all costs. 

So, think about the next aspects before deciding on who should own a dog after the divorce: 

  • Work. If your partner works day and night and only comes home to sleep, he won’t be the best at caring about your pet after divorce, especially if he’s never done it before. Thus, you have the right to demand that your dog should stay with you after the divorce. At the same time, if your job is not that convenient to be combined with pet care, you have to consider joint custody so that your dog could live a certain time with you and your ex in turn. There are also pet-caring services that can help in such a situation;
  • Kids. Having to decide on kids’ custody besides pet care is another challenge for couples. If you have a baby who is not yet bonded with your pet, it may be wise to consider giving the latter away to your partner.But if you have toddlers, schoolboys, or teens who love your pet, dividing them is not the best thing you can do. It can cause a lot of extra stress to your kids as well as the pet, so think twice before separating them;
  • You are moving out. Although getting a new place to live after divorce causes a lot of stress, it’s not the hardest thing to go through for divorcees. Yet it brings a lot of anxiety to pets, especially the old ones, who have lived in the same house since they were kittens or puppies. Therefore, don’t force your pet to leave their home if you’re the one to move out due to marriage dissolution. It may be tough for you to leave them behind, but you should do that for the good of your cat or dog; 
  • Ownership of a few pets. If you have a few dogs, cats, fish, or parrots in your household, you may divide them between you and your spouse when getting divorced. The only issue that can draw you back from this is the friendship established between pets. In such a situation, consider dividing them according to their bonds with each other. For instance, you may take both dogs while your ex takes a cat and a parrot, etc. This is up to you to decide how to do that right; 
  • Revenge. Before starting an altercation over pets, ask yourself: ‘Do I love them and want them to stay with me after a divorce, or am I just eager to harm my partner by taking away his favorite pet?’ Oftentimes, it is likely for spouses to hurt each other by fighting over kids, pets, property, etc., if they were insulted by the divorce itself. Remember that you should be sincere with yourself to find the best way out of the marriage dissolution; 
  • Financial situation. What about your money matters now and after your marriage is over? Will you have the means to support your pets if you take them now? These questions are also pretty important to consider when deciding on who gets pets after marital life is terminated. The life level of your pets should not decrease after their hosts are separated. 

How About Settling an Agreement on The Pets and Divorce Issue? 

This can be the best thing you can do for your pets during the marriage dissolution. 

Just like a settlement agreement that couples develop to get an uncontested divorce, a pet agreement is a document that outlines the couple’s vision of how the living of their pets will look like after a divorce. Here, they can include the visitation, living conditions, expenses, and other details that define the order of care with the dog or cat. Doing it at the time when you sign your Florida separation agreement will save your time and help a judge see your intentions to divorce and divide your property and responsibilities peacefully. 

As you can see, resolving the issue of pet care after divorce on your own is the wisest action you can take before filing for divorce. Since pets are some of the most important creatures in our lives, taking care of them and staying certain about their future is the least thing we can do to demonstrate our love to them. 

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