When people divorce, it is not uncommon to fight over matters like property division and child custody. There are specific laws in place to direct parties and courts on how to resolve these issues, but some matters do not fall neatly into one of these categories.
For instance, if you have a pet, you could be surprised at the contention and confusion that can come with deciding what will happen to the animal in a divorce. Below are some tips to help you navigate this difficult situation.
Tip #1: Opt for out-of-court resolutions
Fighting over matters like pet custody or pet support can be risky to bring to court. In many jurisdictions, pets are property. As such, there is no guarantee that a judge will take into account factors like a pet’s best interests when making a decision.
To retain more control over the outcome and ensure the resolution reflects your unique circumstances, parties can resolve pet issues themselves outside of court. This can be a challenge, but with the guidance and support of people like lawyers and mediators, you can pursue a satisfactory agreement.
Tip #2: Consider the animal’s best interests
Do you have children who are attached to the pet? Will one of you have more space or resources to provide for the animal? Is one of you better fit to take on care-taking responsibilities? Did one of you bring the pet into the marriage?
These are all issues that can impact an animal’s comfort and life after owners’ divorce. Taking them into account can help you make decisions that are in your pet’s best interests, making a difficult transition a little easier.
Tip #3: Don’t be afraid to be creative
Assuming there are only one or two solutions to pet-related issues during a divorce can lead to unsatisfactory outcomes. Do not be afraid to explore creative solutions.
For instance, you might agree to share custody of your pet if both parties have the desire and means to do so. You might also work out a pet support plan if one of you will keep the pet but requires some financial assistance to do so. Being creative can help you identify solutions that best fit your needs as well as your specific pet’s needs.