5 Tips To Help You Keep Your Pet During A Divorce

A divorce is hard enough when it affects just the two of you, but pets can add a new layer of difficulty to the proceedings. The court generally looks at pets as property, which means they are divided up between the two divorcing parties. The following tips can help you increase your chances of keeping your pet.

Tip #1: Be Willing to Compromise

This may mean giving up something else that by all rights should belong to you, such as a vehicle, house, or other item of relative value and use. Sometimes an ex will fight for a pet simply because they want to use it as a bargaining chip for another item.

Tip #2: Work Together

Not all divorce distributions have to be decided by the judge. If possible, work with your divorce attorney and your ex to create an equitable distribution of property before the court proceeding. Then, you will only need the judge to approve and finalize it. Your lawyers will act as your mediators, ensuring that you get what you deserve while also keeping the proceedings legal.

Tip #3: Get Custody of the Kids

There is a precedent of the judge sending the pet with the parent that has primary custody of the children. The reasoning is that the kids will benefit from having their family pet with them during the difficult period following a divorce. Although pets are technically property, judges may also rule in the pet's best interest so they will avoid separating them from the bulk of the family or the family home to which the pet is accustomed to.

Tip #4: Get an ESA

An emotional support animal is a therapy pet, which is registered as a medical assistive service animal. If you can get ESA approval from your therapist, the judge is likely to grant you custody of the pet, since it is now a service animal and a prescribed part of your treatment plan. A true ESA animal must be documented and prescribed by a mental health care provider, so make sure you follow this step if you want to use this argument to keep your pet.

Tip #5: Show Proof of Care

Are you the main caregiver of your pet? If you can prove that you have footed most of the care and monetary responsibilities of the pet, you may be able to get custody. Since a pet is considered property under the law, a proof of purchase in your name can be sufficient for establishing ownership.

For more information, contact Kalamarides & Lambert or a similar firm.