Who Gets Custody of Your Pets When You Divorce?

 Working out the division of assets when you get divorced can be complicated, and child custody can be even more difficult to navigate. But there's another issue that many couples find is hard to work out.

Couples often have pets together and see them as part of their family. So when the family is splitting up, where do the pets go? Pets technically count as property in the eyes of the law, and this will often mean that whichever of you purchased the pet is determined to be the rightful owner if you go to court.

Making your own agreement before that happens could help to create better outcomes.

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Get Professional Help

If you need help with the custody of your pet, you can benefit from getting professional help. Mediation can help you to come to an agreement together, not just about your pet but about finances, assets, child custody, and more. Arbitration is also an option, where an independent person will make the final decision. You can find that family law attorneys are able to help you with this issue and more. They can provide advice and represent you in court, or they may be able to act as your mediator.

Draw Up a Custody Agreement

Coming to an agreement together can help you to work out a situation that you're both happy with. This might mean deciding that your pet splits their time between your homes, especially if it's a pet that is happy to be moved around. If you want to minimize the amount of stress caused to your pet, you should consider not making them switch homes too often. Some animals, such as dogs, will be more comfortable with spending their time in two different places. Others, such as cats, might not enjoy a frequent change of environment, even if they're familiar with both places.

Arrange Visitation

If you decide that the best thing for your pet is to live with just one of you, you could alternatively create a visitation schedule. This could work if you are willing to continue an amicable relationship after your divorce and you trust that both of you are prepared to be sensible and sensitive to the other's time. Even if your pet no longer lives with you, being able to visit can be the next best option. You can arrange a predetermined schedule, which can help to prevent disagreements in the future.

Learn to Let Go

Sometimes the necessary thing may be to prepare to say goodbye to your pet. Although you may love them, a custody agreement for a pet doesn't always make sense in the way that it does for a child. Many pets may not like to be moved around, and trying to maintain a custody or visitation schedule for your pet can become difficult. It's difficult to say goodbye to a member of your family, but sometimes it may be what's best not just for your pet but for the sake of a clean divorce.

Working out who gets pets when you divorce isn't always easy, but a final decision will need to be made. Professional advice can help you if you're unsure about what to do.

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