A divorce is a painful and dreaded experience that costs considerable amounts of time, money, and energy. In relationships without children, there is another custody matter that can be just as painful: pet ownership. Sorting out which spouse gets to keep the pet can often grow uglier than child custody can.
In some cases, a pet can be the focal point of contention in a divorce. When it comes to a court deciding who gets to keep the pet, it helps to know what the law has to say about it.
Asset division instead of custody
While a dog or cat is a living, breathing creature, a court sees a pet as an asset instead of a child. This perspective means that matters like the pet’s best interest may not be a factor in deciding who gets ownership over the dog. There is no guarantee on how a court will proceed with determining ownership. It is beneficial to take proactive precautions to ensure you receive ownership of the dog.
Get it in writing
During asset division negotiations with your spouse, they may agree to you keeping ownership of your pet. If at all possible, get their agreement in writing. Documenting the consent of ownership can spare you the emotional turmoil of fighting for your loved one in court.
Keep your gift
If your pet were a gift during your marriage, then they would not be shared property. If you can prove that your spouse or anyone else gave you your loved as a gift of any sort, you may be able to ensure that your pet stays with you.
Get an attorney’s guidance
Determining who gets ownership of a pet is a stressful endeavor. The guidance of a compassionate lawyer can help a dog owner do everything they can to keep their pet at home with them.