Divorce and Pets “How Do I Keep My Dog?”

My dog is part of my family.  I have had Brodie for 11 years, and it would be painful to lose him in divorce proceedings.  I adopted Brodie from a shelter in 2009, my husband left me in 2013, and my divorce was final in 2017.  There was never a threat that I could lose my dog.  I think it was assumed by my Ex that Brodie was my dog and not his, so this issue never came up.

For many going through a divorce, it is not that easy.  In some cases, the spouse is spiteful and attempts to get the pet that he may or may not care for, only to hurt the other spouse.  In many cases, both parties do love the pet equally and feel that they need this pet in their life.

In most states, maybe all, I don’t know, pets are viewed as property.  In my state of NC, that is the case.  The judge may see the pet as common property and if a decision can’t be made on who keeps the dog or cat, the judge may order the pet sold and divide the proceeds among the parties.

(My Brodie)

Here are a few things to think about if you are battling over a pet in your divorce proceedings.

*If you owned the pet before your marriage, most people would say it is likely you could keep your pet.

*The judge may make the decision based on the best situation for the pet.

*Some people share joint custody of their pets.

*If you can show ownership based on the purchase or adoption of your pet, you may have a higher chance of keeping your pet.

*Showing receipts that you are the one taking your pet to the vet or doggie daycare may increase your chances.

*Maintaining custody of your pet during the divorce proceedings may weigh in your favor.

*Photos of yourself and your pet together may help as well. 

*Many times the dog or cat will go where the kids in the family go.  I read of one case where the parents had joint custody of the kids and where the children went, that is where the dog went.  So, in essence, they had joint custody of the dog also. 

*If the dog is a service dog, that dog will probably go with the person he was helping.

*Some people actually think ahead and have a doggie prenup.  

I hope this is in someway helpful as you proceed through the divorce process.

God Bless You On This Journey!