Divorce can be devastating, even if it is the right decision for you and your spouse. Major life transitions are always challenging, and the thought of losing your pet on top of everything else might be too much to bear.
If you are worried about losing a beloved pet to your ex-spouse, you are not alone. According to TIME, determining custody agreements for pets is often just as contentious as negotiating arrangements for children.
Fighting for pets during divorce proceedings is becoming more common. TIME reports that 27 percent of family attorneys have noticed an increase in pet custody cases over the past five years, and 88 percent of the time, it involves a dog.
If you are going through a divorce and you are concerned about losing custody of your dog, turn to an experienced divorce attorney to discuss your options. At the Elliot Green Law Offices, you will find a Brooklyn family lawyer who can help you avoid making mistakes that could compromise your interests. Call 718-260-8668 to schedule a free 30-minute initial consultation today.
Splitting Custody of Pets
Surrendering your pet to a shelter during divorce proceedings might seem unthinkable, but it happens more frequently than many people realize. According to the ASPCA, divorce is responsible for 10 percent of the relinquished pets that they must rehome. If your spouse is just as determined to keep the dog or cat as you are, though, you may have to consider splitting custody.
When considering a possible custody arrangement, it is critical that you keep your pet’s best interests in mind. Some dogs do not like changing up their routine frequently while others do not do well in certain climates.
There are a lot of factors to take into account including your job, your location, and your schedule. You should also consider your pets’ breeds and where they are most likely to thrive.
For example, if you live in the northeast and your ex moves to Texas, a husky may be more comfortable with you. In such a situation, it might be best if the dog resides with you full-time and visits your ex for a few weeks of the year.
Luckily, there is a lot of flexibility when it comes to custody arrangements for pets because couples do not have to plan around school holidays. That means you could take the dog from January to June, and your ex could have it from July to December. Such an arrangement has worked for divorced couples in the past.
It is important to keep in mind that the courts cannot enforce a pet custody arrangement, though, because there are no laws governing them yet. If a financial dispute arises, it is possible to use small claims court to pursue veterinarian bills or other costs from your ex, but in general, you have no legal recourse for enforcing a custody arrangement.
This is why you should discuss your options with an attorney. A family lawyer can mediate for you and your ex to ensure you remain on good terms, which will facilitate any pet custody arrangements that you devise.
Contact the Elliot Green Law Offices to speak with a Brooklyn divorce attorney about keeping custody of your pets. Call 718-260-8668 to schedule an initial consultation today. You can also learn more about divorce in New York by visiting USAttorneys.com.