Pet Custody: Who Gets Fido?

Pets are often treated as beloved family members and the prospect with parting with them in a divorce is just as heartbreaking as any other decision you might encounter on the path to the dissolution of your marriage. However, the law has not quite caught up with the sentimental attachment we have to our animal companions and, as such, pets are generally treated as personal property, much like a dining room table or a fancy piece of art that hangs on your wall. So, how do divorcing spouses handle this complicated issue?

Choosing Who Keeps the Pet

Generally, if both parties can hash out who should keep the family pet without involving the court, this would be the easiest and best way to go about handling pet custody. Of course, when neither party wants to let the pet go, the situation can get hairy. In Indiana, some couples are deciding to agree to a pet visitation schedule that is much like the visitation schedules divorced spouses craft when it comes to sharing time with the children. If an agreement cannot be made, the issue will eventually have to go before the court, which will cost more time and money.

The judge on a case such as this is unlikely to stray from the law when it comes to who receives the pet. Even though the pet will be treated as personal property, it is still possible for a judge to order that the pet spend half the month with you and the other have with your ex-spouse. If you have children who are attached to the pet, you might want to consider letting the pet stay with the custodial parent, so the children do not have to part with it.

The best way to go about addressing a situation like this is for couples to prepare a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married, which can include who will keep the family pet or if custody of the pet is to be shared. Until the law catches up with our love for our pets, taking the proper precautions can help spare a lot of heartache, time, and money.

Family Law Attorneys in Madison, Wisconsin

At Balisle Family Law Legal Counsel, S.C., our prestigious firm is committed to getting results and providing client-focused service. No matter how complex your family law matter is, you can rest assured your case will be in good hands with us. You should not have to face your complicated legal matter alone.

Contact our office today at (608) 765-1001 to schedule a consultation.