Written by Divorce Tool Box Team
When divorce occurs, division of assets and liabilities acquired during marriage must occur. When society views assets, images of real estate and personal property always come into forethought but another asset that couples often find hard to divide is that of the family pet. It is common to hear the words “in the best interest of the children” but what about “in the best interest of the family pet”?
Family members as well as their pets love each other and have bonded over time. When divorce brings about division, decisions concerning the family pet must also be considered. Does your local jurisdiction view your pet as joint property? When considering the family pet and asset division, it may be viewed in the same context as a custodial parenting agreement, spending visitation time with the pet.
Six considerations for the family pet when facing divorce:
- Is it feasible for the pet to spend an equal amount of time with each spouse?
- If children are involved, the family pet could have the same visitation schedule as the children. This would create unity for the both children and the pet.
- One question to consider is when a spouse is out of town and unable to care for the pet, what will occur? The solution could be that the other spouse would be the first choice of caring for the pet before boarding at the nearby shelter.
- If one spouse moves into an apartment or rental home, many lease agreements will not allow pets. If this is the case, arranging for a specific time to allow that spouse to visit with the pet, participate in outings with the pet, etc. may be an option.
- How are pet related expenses to be paid? Vet bills as well as other expenses may be shared if both spouses are sharing the pet. This should not be overlooked during the emotional time of divorce if the pet become sick and a vet bill is acquired, how will it be paid?
- What if there is an agreement and one spouse decides not to abide by the agreement after the divorce is final? Returning to court over your pet issue would be costly and although the issue is near and dear to your heart, the court may consider it a waste of time due to the many families with visitation concerns of children and the court docket already behind in many states, this would only increase it. In view of this perspective, would it be wise to allow one spouse to obtain custody of the pet and because the pet is a valuable asset to both, find an equal asset of equal value? This would allow available money to purchase a new pet for a new beginning that would not need to be shared but allow for constant companionship.
The family pet is loved and valued by all family members and when divorcing, one should consider their future, the relationship between the parties and what would be in the best interest of your pet?
Divorce Tool Box is aware that division of any asset is difficult due to the emotional attachment. Allow our online sessions to assist you during this time by visiting our website at www.divorcetoolbox.com .