So, Who Gets The Dog In A Divorce?
To Top

So, Who Gets The Dog In A Divorce?

After trying new ways to save your relationship, you both come to the conclusion it’s time to go your separate ways. Everyone from your nosy family members, friends, and even your lawyers always have advice they can’t wait but share with you. This includes dividing up the assets and also your favorite pet!

While speaking with long-term professional attorneys Kelly Frawley and Emily Pollock we got some really good advice. When it comes to custody of your favorite pet, the rules can change from state to state and can depend on whether you both see your pet as only property which would then determine who is the best party for ownership or whether it’s in the best interest of your dog and who will take care of him or her the best way.

In either scenario, eventually, your dog will go to just one of you, not shared. Either way, this also varies from state to state. One of the most common questions is whether the person who purchased the dog or adopted the dog will get custody. This again depends on where they live and which scenario is being applied. It also depends on the financial ability to care for the dog.

Another variance could be whether child custody comes into play. If the child bonded with the pet, the courts will focus on the best interest of the child.

Can I Have A Pet Clause In My Prenuptial Agreement?

Yes, you can and it’s enforceable. You might want to have a clause regarding pet ownership for pets that were brought into your home during the marriage and whose name is on the pet license. On the other hand, if you came into the marriage with your dog then you probably should consider having a pet clause that states very clearly she belongs to you.

Here are some suggestions you might want to consider to ensure you will not lose custody of your pet. Keep in mind, if you are bringing in a pet with someone, there will probably be arguments and disputes about ownership in a divorce.

There are a few things that can improve your odds for keeping your beloved dog with you. First and foremost, make sure all documents relating to ownership are immediately available including the purchase agreement, adoption contract, pet license, vet records, microchip implant records, etc. If you are the name on all of the above you have a good chance of keeping your four-legged friend.

If you have a partner at the time you got the dog, you should have your intentions in writing with respect to ownership. The documentation should state that the other party may live with, care for, and even contribute to expenses for the pet, but you and only you will remain the sole owner of your dog.

When It Comes To The Courts:

During a divorce, what becomes of your dog will depend largely on where you live and whether the courts perceive pets as property, and other considerations such as in the best interest of the pet. There are some courts that will consider co-ownership while other courts will not.

Keep in mind, these rules only apply when disputes arise in court so it’s really advisable that you both work out an agreement to keep it out of the courts.

More in OMG