Can You Get Custody Of The Pet In A Divorce?


When you and your spouse decide to divorce, you have to make many important decisions. One of the decisions may revolve around who will get the family pet. Pets, though seemingly a true member of the family, are considered property in some states, like Colorado, and are subject to equitable division just like a home or other assets.

The decision about the pet, however, is more difficult than other assets. Pets have an emotional attachment. Many pet owners treat pets like children, and determining who will get the pet is one of the hardest to deal with. To make the process easier, consider the following tips.

Look at Records and Paperwork

Some couples argue over who actually should get the pet. If this is an argument in your divorce, one easy way to prove ownership is with the pet's paperwork. If your pet is registered with the AKC or other registration authority, the owner's name is on the registration paperwork, which serves as evidence of ownership.

Veterinarian's records are another source of paperwork that helps determine ownership. If you purchased the pet, you should still have the receipt, proof of payment, a purchase contract, and other documentation. If your name is the only name on the pet's records, your likelihood of receiving the pet after the divorce is high.

Enter a Custodial Plan

Although pets are legally property, many couples choose to enter into a custodial plan much like you would with children. You have this option if you both simply cannot give up the pet. Your attorney can help you draw up an enforceable agreement which states you both intend to share the pet once you divorce. If you don't have an attorney yet, contact a firm like Bray & Johnson Law Firm for more help.

If you have children who are close to the pet, a custodial arrangement is ideal. You can base your pet custody with your children's custody. When you drop the children off with your former spouse for visitation, drop the pet along with the kids. This way, the children do not have to be without their beloved pet, which is helpful in the healing process.

Like with any custodial situation, one of the most important components is to have all the details of the agreement worked out in advance. In your agreement, include what happens when you have to deal with pet costs. For instance, if the pet has a veterinary appointment, decide who will pay for the visit. The same goes for groomer appointments, medication, and any other expenses related to the pet.

You also need to take the age of the pet into consideration. Both you and your former spouse need to be on the same page when it comes to important decisions which impact the family. For instance, if the pet is severely injured, sick, or in poor health due to advanced age, you both need to agree on what to do with regard to treatment versus euthanasia.


2 October 2018

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