Who Gets The Dog In A Divorce?

If you're going through a divorce mediation, the hardest decision after things related to your children is often who gets the dog. Here are some factors to discuss during mediation both because a judge will rely on them and because they help decide what's best for the people and the dog.

Original Ownership

Establishing who initially owned the dog can be a decisive factor during a divorce. If one spouse brought the dog into the marriage or if the dog is registered under one spouse's name, it can carry significant weight in the decision-making process.

Proof of purchase, adoption papers, or registration documents can be useful in establishing ownership. Additionally, any agreements or discussions regarding ownership prior to or during the marriage can also be considered by the court when determining who gets the dog.

Care and Responsibility

The court may consider the level of care and responsibility each spouse has shown towards the dog during the marriage. Factors such as feeding, grooming, veterinary care, training, and spending quality time with the dog can all play a role in determining who gets custody.

Demonstrating a history of active involvement and assuming responsibility for the dog's needs can strengthen a spouse's claim. Evidence of regular veterinary visits, training records, and statements of witnesses can all be used to show this.

Child's Best Interest

If the divorcing couple has children, the court may prioritize the best interest of the children when deciding pet custody. This can include considering the emotional bond between the child and the dog and determining which living arrangement would be most beneficial for the child's overall well-being.

If the dog is closely bonded with a child, it may increase the likelihood of the child residing with the dog. The court may also consider the child's ability to care for the dog.

Financial Ability

The financial capability of each spouse to provide for the dog's needs can be a factor in pet custody determinations. The court may consider factors such as income, housing conditions, and available resources to care for the dog's expenses, including food, veterinary care, and grooming.

The judge will often want to see that the spouse can continue to give the dog the same level of care. Judges also want to avoid situations where they think one spouse might be trying to get the dog to spite the other only to not really care for the dog or to send it to live somewhere else. For more information on divorce mediation, contact a company near you.