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Divorcing with Pets

| Sep 12, 2018 | Firm News |

A divorce can be a complicated, litigious process that can change all aspects of your normal life. Everything from the house, children, and cars, among others, are considered. One aspect that some may overlook is the pets. The big question is, who gets the pets in a divorce?

There are many factors that go into determining which of the pet parents get to have custody of the pet. Some factors include:

  • Who spends more time with the pet;
  • Who feeds the pet;
  • Who partakes in veterinary care visits; and
  • Who brought the pet into the relationship, among others.


As times change, more and more pet custody battles are reaching American courtrooms. Typically, pet owners that are going through a divorce battle over their pets because both pet parents want to continue companionship with the animal and are seeking full custody. However, there could be another underlying reason why some pet parents refuse to let go of their furry friends; a person may understand that their ex-spouse wishes to have custody of the pet and decides to use that against them. This tactic may be used to gain leverage in an effort to have the spouse give up something with significant financial value, like a car, jewelry, expensive paintings, among others.

Pet custody disputes can lead to litigation. As is in any other custody battle, the pets will then enter the divorce proceedings. Overall, the health and welfare of the animal will be held at the utmost importance. The court will generally grant custody to whichever spouse can provide the best care for the animal and where the animal will be safe. However, in light of the dispute, a shared custody arrangement can be created where both pet parents will be granted visitation rights to the animal and could potentially have the animal on certain days, just like the shared custody of a child.

Animal custody battles have been becoming more prevalent. Like other aspects of divorces, deciding what to do with a pet can be an emotionally and financially draining. When faced with a pet custody dispute, it is important to consult with an experienced family attorney to protect your interests in the animal and help you achieve your desired outcome, whether that be to have shared custody or sole custody of the animal. Call the New York divorce lawyer Heather A. Fig at office for more information or to schedule a consultation.