How to Handle the Family Dog During Divorce
There are a lot of important issues you’ll need to handle during the course of your divorce. One that you might not immediately think of is what you’ll do with the family dog.
Your dog, after all, is very much a part of your family, which can make who gets the dog a contentious issue when couples split. Divorce is, unfortunately, one of the most common reasons dogs end up getting rehomed or sent to shelters, but it’s in the dog’s best interest to maintain as stable of a routine as possible after the divorce, very much like a child.
It is important to note that dogs are treated as community property in the eyes of the law during a divorce. With this in mind, here are several steps you can take to address the dog issue:
- Pet custody petitions: You can file a petition to obtain pet custody and seek a pet custody hearing, if the issue is particularly contentious. This sort of hearing works similarly to a child custody hearing in that you get to explain why it’s in the pet’s best interest to live with you after the divorce.
- Dogs in prenups: If you get a prenuptial agreement, you can include information about who would take the dog if you were to get divorced. If you get the dog after you are married, you can create a special agreement indicating which of the two of you would take the dog in the event the marriage comes to an end.
- Shared dog custody: You could create your own dog custody arrangement, in which you and your ex share time with the dog. In such an arrangement, the dog would spend some time living with each of you. Depending on the dog, this may or may not be a stressful arrangement—some dogs adapt very quickly, others are very much tied to their routine.
Much like with children, it’s important you always keep the best interests of the dog in mind when making these decisions. For more information about how to proceed with determining dog custody, contact an experienced divorce attorney at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.