What If I Want To Keep the Dog in a Divorce?

October 3, 2022

Our pets are like family, and when a couple decides to divorce, the pets can be caught in the middle. Sometimes, the resolution can be simple and one party or the other will take the pet. So, what happens if one person wants to keep the pet and a fight ensues? Keep reading to find out.

What Happens to a Dog in Divorce?

In many cases, one person or the other will step up and want to take the pet, alleviating any need to figure out what to do. In other cases, a fight may break out and both parties may want the pet, and in other, more tragic cases, no one wants the pet. Countless dogs enter the shelter system each year as the result of the unfortunate position of dissolving a marriage.

Though most people view them as part of the family, pets are still classified as property and may be considered marital property if the pet was purchased during the marriage in most states. This means that they have no rights and ownership after the divorce has to be determined by the parties involved. Most judges are not going to take much into account when determining who gets a pet after a divorce other than who paid for the pet.

This means that even if you love the pet, cared for it or bonded with it, if you were not the one that paid for it and funded it, the judge is likely going to award the other party ownership of the pet, even if they do not truly want it.

What Can you Do?

The best thing to do if you are ending your marriage is to take the time to speak with your former partner about what will happen. If both parties want to keep the pet, perhaps try creating a visitation where both parties can still be part of the pet’s life even after the divorce. If one party wants the pet and the other does not, arrange for the interested party to take possession of the pet.

If neither wants the pet, it is always best to try to find someone that does genuinely want the pet rather than trying to take a pet to a shelter. 

Pets have feelings, are sentient beings, and deserve to be treated with respect. Though divorce is terrible, it does not mean that the pets from that divorce have to be tossed aside.

Categorised in:

K.J. Law P.A.