Property division is always complex during a divorce, but if one is emotionally attached to it, it becomes intense. Being on the same page with your ex can be tricky and a long road, but it is unimaginable if you have a pet, especially a dog. Who doesn’t love them? You take care of them, buy them toys and treats, and take them to play dates in the park; they are not children but your family. If divorce goes down, then like other divisions of assets, family pets become the center of divorce disputes, just like children.

Pets Are Family

It can be as complicated as other matters as some states consider it personal property and are divided like other community/marital property such as a home or a car. Research suggests that around 40% of the population of pet owners are not willing to give up their four-legged friends. Dogs are most loved just like any other family member, which can lead to heated arguments among the family members. Sometimes, it can be otherwise that pet parents can manage the visitation schedule and custody as both want to continue loving and living with their dog.

How To Decide?

Courts are most likely to consider the ownership and the monetary value of a dog, cat, lizard, snake, or companion. Pet owners do not think of their dogs or pets that way. For some people, dogs comprise their whole life and revolve around their dogs. A judge will base their decision on ownership and monetary value. However, separating a pet from a child when mom and dad are fighting can be devastating in families. The child can be emotionally attached to the dog or pet, and separating them can affect the child’s mental amid their parents’ separation. Children often bond with pets while growing up.

In some cases, the custody of a dog is very clear: if one spouse had the pet dog before the marriage, then the dog belongs to that spouse. However, if the dog was adopted together after the marriage, it may be considered community property. It will be a shared asset during the divorce, and custody must be agreed upon by both parties and awarded by the judge. Whoever owns or cares for the dog belongs to that spouse. If both have been taking care of the dog, then there are many options, like sharing the dog among the two houses, just like their children’s custody.

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