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Handling pets during divorce

Just like any type of relationship, marriages can end – sometimes amicably, other times, not so much. According to research, over 40% of marriages in America end in divorce. When the relationship ends in a bad way, it can take a toll both financially and emotionally on all parties involved. During the split, houses get sold, property gets divided, custody gets decided if there are kids involved.  What will happen if the family has a pet? There is a high likelihood of a pet being involved because over 60% of American households have at least one pet. The states in America except for Alaska and Illinois, however, view pets as property that can be sold. So the question remains, what happens to these pets when the couple splits up?  Most times, the decision is not an easy one because both parties have formed an emotional attachment to the animal, and no one wants to relinquish ownership.  Pet custody disputes are coming into courtrooms more often these days – goes to show just how difficult it is to handle pets during divorce. In this article, we will take a look at how pets are handled during divorce.

How to handle pets during divorce

Even though pets are usually viewed as members of the family, the law views them as property, just like a couch or a painting. However, with a prenuptial agreement, you will be able to ensure that your pet stays yours. If there is no prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place, there are several factors you can consider that will make the custody of the pet easier. With these in place, the court will be able to better come to an informed decision.

Who is the owner of the pet?

If the pet belonged to either one of the spouses before they got married, the pet should belong to that same spouse even after divorce.

Who takes care of the pet?

Who buys the food and supplies for the pet? Which one of the spouses takes the pet in for check-ups? Who walks and feeds the pet? The answers to these question will play a role in who gets the pet. If you do all these, you can gather all of this evidence with the help of the vet to help with your case. Did you sign the dog license application? Get a copy of it.

Are there children involved?

If there are children involved, where the children will live will play a role in where the pet will be. This is because the pet is a family pet. So if the custody of the children is shared, the same goes for the pets.

Consider the lifestyle of both spouses

If one spouse’s career does not allow them to have a predictable schedule, it is only right that the pet ends up with the other partner whose does. Pets need a good environment to thrive so if your ex’s lifestyle does not accommodate having a pet full-time, you can make a case using this and give it to the judge.

If you are considering civil or family litigation, you need the knowledge and experience of a licensed attorney.  Dsouza and Strachan Legal Group has the knowledge and experience to help you navigate this complex topic.  Contact Dsouza and Strachan today for a free consultation.

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