Divorce means dividing up the life you’ve created together. If you have a pet, he or she is part of this life. Your pet has to be accounted for along with everything else.
But how does this actually happen? Do you need to make a custody plan and share your pet even after the divorce is finalized?
Pets Are Actually Property
It is sometimes hard to accept, but pets are not family members. In most states, they are property. Deciding what to do with the pet dog, for instance, isn’t a custody issue. It’s a property division issue.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t seek a solution where you and your ex both get to see your pet. If you’d like, you can make any schedule you want. Some divorced couples trade their pets back and forth every other week, much like children. There’s nothing wrong with this if you can agree on a schedule.
The trouble comes when you and your ex can’t agree. Couples sometimes want the court to create this schedule for them. The court, though, is simply going to see who has a right to that pet as property. If your ex bought the pet before you got married, for instance, they may get to keep it, and you may have no legal right to see it — no matter how you feel about the situation.
What Are Your Options?
These can be hard cases, as it’s very understandable that you see your pet as far more than property. Most owners do. The role that pets hold in our lives has vastly changed over the decades. Make sure you know what options you have to protect your interests.