Most people love their pets as though they are part of the family. Unfortunately, during a divorce, they may be viewed as property to be divided. This may mean pets that have bonded to one another are separated, or pets that are fond of a particular person may have to go with the other. As a result, you may want to know how you can protect your furry children if a divorce occurs.
If you have pets that are AKC registered, make sure you look at the documents to see whose names are listed as being the owner. Make sure to double check the vet records to ensure you are on the contact list. You should also acquire copies of their Microchip ID numbers, current vaccinations, and other relevant information. If the pets were purchased before the marriage, locate copies of the purchase contract, how the pet was paid for and other documentation that proves you own the animal.
Consider Parenting Plans
Consider creating a shared “custody” arrangement for your pets. Just because pets are characterized by the law, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Family law is special and unique, and courts will honor any enforceable and reasonable agreement. This is true regardless of whether or not it is the “correct” legal resolution. If you also have human children, keeping the pets on the same custody schedule usually makes sense.
Handle the Details
If you choose a shared custody arrangement, remember you also have to think about the costs of maintaining the animal. Not just grooming and food costs, but also ensuring they have proper care as they reach the end of their life. For example, is there a point when the vet bills may get to be too much? How are you going to make decisions regarding if you should treat the animal or let them go?
While you likely love your pets, your spouse may also have a close attachment to them. Your pets will also love both of you and miss the other person if they never saw them again. If you think of your pets as children, you need to “walk the walk.” This means that you consider what is in the best interest of the animal and not be selfish. Just like it is not usually in a child’s best interested to never see their other parent again, the same concept applies to your bets.
In some cases, you have to make sacrifices when it comes to divorce. If you want to ensure your pets are happy, make sure you are doing what is best for them. To learn more about what happens to pets during a divorce, contact The Carolan Family Law Firm, P.A.