Who Keeps The Pets After Divorce?

If you are getting a divorce, you must know how grueling the divorce process is. It can be very emotionally and physically taxing to decide the provisions and resolve any conflict in divorce.

These conflicts can include things such as the division of assets, child custody disputes, and the decision of marital estate among other things.

In these stressful times, you also have to worry about what will happen to your pets after divorce. Both partners in a marriage have an emotional connection with the family pet and it is not easy to decide what happens once the divorce is finalized.

Our team of dedicated Greenville divorce attorneys are here to serve you!

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How does Divorce Impacts Pets?

Research by ASPCA states that one of the most common reasons for pet owners to rehome or in other cases relinquish their dogs is divorce.

Couples when divorcing, often leave their dogs in the shelter. but you can’t completely fault the couple as they themselves are going through a tough time and in this mess, it can be difficult to care for a dog or reach a conclusion on pet ownership or custody rights. 

pets after divorce in Greenville, SC

However, it is very dangerous for the pet to experience all the stress at home when the couple is constantly fighting and the pet is being ignored. In these cases, the pets can develop bad behavior and act out, therefore it is very important for your pets to be in a stable home. Pets such as dogs require a lot of routines and a broken home cannot provide that routine. Moreover, many people don’t understand why their dog is acting a certain way, they end up thinking that the dog is being bad and may even be stern with them when all they are looking for is some love. 

Who Gets the Pets?

The law about who gets the pets depends on the state you are living in. But generally, pets are categorized as property. You can get more clarity on the categorization from divorce attorneys. If you go to court, family courts will give custody to one spouse much like how the rest of the property is divided

Therefore, for the betterment of the pet, it is essential that the couple work on divorce settlement negotiations and reach a conclusion on their own. This way they will be able to make a better decision rather than the court deciding for them. if you have proof that you purchased the pet then you can use that to get custody. Proof can include receipts or any pet license that reinstates that you are in fact the owner of the pet. 

You can also go for testaments from friends, family, and neighbors that testify that the pet is yours and that you have been the one caring for them. 

Your Pet’s Best Interests

The decision for pet custody should be made keeping the best interest of the pet in mind. Courts are now more open to the idea of considering the pet’s best interest before they make a decision.  This involves consideration for the spouse who cared for the pet most and was the one to train them. Furthermore, they will also like to determine which of the spouse is in the best position to offer the pet the kind of care it needs and the most stable environment. 

FAQ: How much will a Greenville, South Carolina divorce attorney cost me?

It is best to hire a family law attorney to help you understand the situation better and what will be the best solution. A dedicated divorce attorney will help you get custody of your pet so you do not have to worry about separating from your pet animal. 

How Can I Increase My Chances of Pet Custody?

We understand that you have an emotional connection with your pet and would want to do anything you can to increase the possibility of getting custody of your pet. When you hire a good attorney, they will be able to help you increase your chances through different things. 

For instance, if you got the pet while you were still married then you can present any papers regarding the pet that document your involvement in their lives. This can include documents such as adoption papers or veterinary bills that have your name as the pet owner. You can also present any receipts you may have of pet toys that you have purchased from your personal accounts. All of these documents show that you were the primary caregiver for the pet and therefore, you deserve the custody. 

a dog and cat on a couch in Greenville, South Carolina

You can also ask your friends and family for support. You can record their testimonies or witness accounts that prove your involvement in caring for your pet was more than your partner’s. 

On the other hand, if you owned the pet before you got married then that will not be counted as joint property. The pet will be your separate property and it will not be a part of the equitable distribution.

Are There Alternative Solutions?

There are alternative solutions you can opt for when thinking about the custody of the pet. You can connect with an experienced divorce attorney and they will guide you to the best possible alternate solution. 

For example, it is a good idea to have a property settlement agreement. This way, the court will not be involved in making the decision in your place. This agreement with include details such as visitation rights, custody arrangements, and who is to have the primary custody. Here you can treat the pet as a piece of property. Set up a visitation schedule that both of you agree on. 

Here you need to consider several things such as the routine of both spouses. Whether one spouse works for longer hours or the other has to travel a lot. For primary custody, you can keep the fact in count as to which spouse got the pet and who the pet is most comfortable with. The pet may favor one spouse over the other, therefore, their best interest will be to stay with the spouse they favor. 

FAQ: What are some benefits of divorce mediation?

Another way to ensure that you get complete custody of the pet is when you get a prenuptial agreement. This can be a very difficult conversation when you are about to get married to the love of your life but it is best to be on the same page before you are bound by a social contract with each other. This will help you in the future if unfortunately, you need to get a divorce. This can be considered a precaution and you won’t have to struggle, if and when the time comes.  

Our Greenville Family Lawyers are Here to Help!

Get help from our trained divorce lawyer and you will be able to get a solution that serves the best interest of you and your pet. Do not rely on any verbal agreements with your spouse and connect with our legal team. 

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