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Divorce and Pets: Three Tips to Help You Navigate This Tricky Area

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A lot of people consider their pets part of the family. If you are going through the divorce process and you share a pet, you might be feeling a little confused and upset. After all, it can be difficult deciding who gets ownership of the pet when the divorce is finalized. Fortunately, there are some tips that can help you navigate this difficult process.

If you are divorcing and share a pet with your spouse, be sure to keep these three tips in mind:

1. Gather Paperwork

Like anything else in a divorce, paperwork matters. When it comes to pets, it is important that you have all the necessary paperwork. In most cases, you will need to have copies of all vet visits. You should also have the information regarding the microchip, ID tags, and other information regarding their identity. You should also collect receipts, as these show who pays for the pet. Additionally, if you purchased the pet before you married, try to find documentation that proves it.

2. Discuss Detailed Expenses

You should also make up a detailed list of current expenses for your pet. Make sure you include all the expenses for pet care including grooming, food, and vet visits. You might also want to create a detailed plan for any costs that might be incurred as your pet ages. Additionally, you should discuss with your spouse how important decisions regarding your pet is made. Who decides what care the pet will get? You might also want to discuss what will happen when the pet becomes gravely ill or injured.

3. Consider Parenting Plans

Although it might sound odd, many judges are perfectly happy to let couples share the responsibilities of a pet. In this case, you and your spouse would have "shared custody" of the pet. In these cases, the pet usually lives with both parties. For example, the pet might have weekdays with your spouse and weekends with you, or vice-versa. While this type of arrangement might not seem ideal, it can be very beneficial. After all, the pet is already bonded with both of you; and suddenly not seeing a family member can put a lot of stress on your pet. Plus, if you have children it can be very easy to bring the family pet along with the kids when sharing households.

Choosing who gets ownership of the family pet during divorce isn't an easy decision. Fortunately, with these tips and the help of a skilled divorce attorney, you can ensure that your pet is happy, healthy, and loved.