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What to do with your dog during a divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2021 | Property Division

Divorce can bring many problems and be a difficult time in anyone’s life because it involves splitting a wide variety of assets and possessions. One of those may be a family pet. Divorcing dog owners have to decide on care and custody arrangements when they split up.

How divorce affects dogs

One of the most common reasons for dogs to enter a shelter or find a new home is divorce. During a stressful divorce, people may think that the dog should live elsewhere. A divorce will upset a dog’s routine, which causes the dog to act out. A dog living between two households needs to get used to the new routine.

How the law treats pet ownership

People think of dogs as members of their families, but pets are treated as community property under the law. A judge probably won’t care who spends more time with the dog; the court will look at who pays the veterinary bills or the adoption fee when deciding on this aspect of property division.

What to consider during divorce with a dog

Dog owners could write up a dog prenup long before there is a chance of divorce. They may discuss:

• Who works longer hours?
• Who had the dog first?
• Who does the dog prefer?
• Are there multiple family pets?
• Could there be remarriages, new kids, or new pets?

Planning for divorce with your dog in mind will limit the awkwardness if a divorce happens. The plan for your dog’s care should be in the prenuptial agreement.

Sometimes, one person is a primary caregiver, and other times, both parties share custody of a family pet. A dog can help both parties heal and move on with their lives, but the owners should put the dog’s well-being first when deciding on arrangements.