While our source article for today's blog post is from seven years ago, the topic itself is an important one when couples divorce. Today, we're talking about pet custody. Not every couple has a pet, just like not every couple has children. But for the couples that do have pets, getting a divorce can raise a very significant question: what happens to our pet when we go our separate ways?
You may think that, like with a child, the court will consider best interests in the case. But, in fact, pets are considered pieces of property. As such, the "owner" of the pet (which can be argued out and proven in court, based on the evidence you present) will retain the rights to the pet.
Now, that's a worst case scenario. Most couples that are going through a divorce and have a pet are willing to discuss a more beneficial plan for both parties. Negotiations can discuss a wide range of issues related to pet ownership and divorce, such as a visitation schedule, a plan for paying for essential supplies for the pet, and even custody measures.
This all may sound silly to non-pet owners, but for pet owners, their beloved dog, cat or other animal is like the child they never had. Or, if they have a child too, then the pet is like a part of the family -- a member that completes the family. Losing this family member due to property division laws can be tough, which is why negotiating and finding an amicable solution to your pet custody conundrum is important.
Source: Animal Legal & Historical Center, "Custody of Pets in Divorce," Tabby McLain, 2009