Divorce Tips to Avoid a Messy Pet Custody Battle

The furry members of your family always receive special attention. Your relationship with your spouse and other family members does not seem to affect your bond with pets. But, what will happen to your pets when you are divorced from your spouse? You may have heard about child custody cases. However, there are also pet custody laws to solve conflicts during your divorce proceedings.

 Both you and your spouse like to retain pets. Nevertheless, it is essential to stick to legal rules related to your beloved pet.

Divorce dog custody – Is your pet dog a family member or a marital property?

From legal and technical perspectives, pets are property. Determining pet custody is not easy, as it involves several factors. When you and the other partner want to retain the pet, the vet costs have to be shared. So, you may like to know how to protect your pet custody rights. Court cases regarding pets can become a costly affair.

You may claim that your spouse is not efficient at caring for the pet dog or cat. In that case, you must show evidence to prove your claim.

While creating the written legal agreements about pet custody, your lawyer will outline everything like-

  • Preferences for care
  • Transfer of the animal
  • Allocation of the vet costs

Factors Judges Weigh to Determine Pet Custody

Like human children custody, the pet custody case is complicated. The judge has to make his decision based on some factors. The pet may be a-

  • Separate property- The animal acquired before the relationship
  • Community property- When you have acquired the pet during the relationship

In the case of the community property, the court judge will thoroughly analyze your ability to care for the animal and its needs. He will try to identify the party which will take the long-term responsibility of the pet. He will make a decision by focusing on a few questions- 

  • Which spouse will become the primary caretaker?
  • Do you have the ability to serve your pet’s daily needs?
  • Do you ignore your pet animal at any time?
  • What is your regular travel schedule and lifestyle?
  • Do your kids have a relationship with these furry pets?

The goal of the judge is to detect the pet’s primary parent.

How to Get Pet Custody- Know about the pet custody laws-

Pet custody laws are evolving in the United States. You can have some photos of you and your furry companion. It will show the judge the strong bond with the pet. Still, the judge will analyze some factors before making a decision.

  • How to get cat custody

Make sure that both you and your spouse call the cat by the same name. The amount and type of food provided by spouses must not be different. But, can the cats stay at 2 homes? These feline animals are territorial. Still, people and food are more important to them than the territory.

  • How to get dog custody

The most important thing is that animals are not like human beings, although you have feelings for them. Thus, there is no need to deal with obligations and visitation rights. During the breakup, the spouse who originally bought the pet has a chance of possessing it. However, when he has gifted you the dog, you can own the pet.

Best Interests of the Pet Standard: Once in Court, What Happens?

Pet custody lawyers in Illinois, California, Alaska, and other states judge the case in a way they deal with child custody. The major focus of judges is the pet’s wellbeing. Which party will take the best care of the animal? Do not continue the fight in the appellate court for several months. Some cases conclude with shared custody.

But, it does not happen in every situation. The lawyer can claim that his client has paid the vet bills till now. He will try to prove that the other party has ignored the animal. When revenge is the motivating factor of the dispute, judges will not reward the pet to its owners. 

Preparing for the pet custody- A few tips

  • Gather documents related to your pet’s life- For instance, they will prove how you have taken the pet on walks, to the vet, and to training centers. 
  • Track everything that you do for your pet regularly- Brushing, walking, playing, bathing, feeding, and giving medication- Note down these activities on your calendar.
  • Take videos and photos to show how you have been involved in caring for your pets.
  • Find social media posts that show how you have accompanied your pet. 
  • Do not leave your pet at any boarding facility until the end of the divorce case.
  • Calculate the cost of monthly pet care.
  • Find friends, neighbors, and other witnesses who will testify to your close relationship with your canine and feline pet.

Laws have not focused on reality

Some states in the USA have rigid rules for Animal Protection. However, you will not find laws to protect familial status in the separation case. Pets win the heart of every family member. Moreover, they play emotional and therapeutic roles in a family. No spouse likes to give up the pet’s ownership. Kids of divorced couples also feel mental trauma due to the forced separation from pets. 

Final Thoughts

More than 65% of households have a pet. But, in some states, the legal authority does not treat the pet as a family. It is heart-wrenching for a spouse to get separated from an adorable pet. You cannot find any strict guidelines on how to split the pet dogs and cats in the divorce case. It is unfair to treat pets as personal property. The judges will treat the case after analyzing every factor. You can hire a licensed attorney to understand the legal aspects of the pet custody case.

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