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If you get divorced, who gets the dog?

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2022 | Divorce | 0 comments

When couples are getting divorced, they often focus on two areas: High-value assets and time with the children. You may wonder about who gets the retirement account or who keeps the family home. You may be concerned about how to split up custody so you both get to be involved with the kids.

However, not far down the list of priorities for dog owners is who gets to keep the family pet. Does one person take it? Do they have to share? How do they make a decision if they can’t agree?

If the court decides, the dog is property

If you and your spouse are able to figure something out on your own where you share your dog, you are more than welcome to set up a schedule as part of your divorce. For instance, maybe you have children and you want to make sure that the dog is with the kids all the time. You could simply add that schedule into your normal child custody schedule and the dog could move back and forth.

If you can’t reach some sort of an agreement, such as in a situation where both of you want the dog exclusively, the court can decide. Just keep in mind that the court doesn’t look at this as a custody situation at all. They just look at the dog as a piece of property. They will determine which one of you will get it, and the other will get a different asset with a similar value. 

This may not be ideal, so it’s very important to consider all of the legal steps you can take to protect your interests. The more you know, the better you can negotiate for what you want.