Pets are part of millions of families across the country. And whether they are dogs, cats or something more exotic, they may well be an irreplaceable companion. So, when pet owners get divorced, determining who keeps the animal can be a top concern.
If you are in this situation, you can consider a few critical factors to help you decide what happens with your pet.
Who has been the primary caregiver?
Consider who has the closest relationship with your pet.
If you purchased or adopted your pet before marriage and have been taking care of it longer, it might make sense for you to keep it in a divorce. However, if your partner was the person who primarily cared for your pet, it could be best for them to keep it.
What is in your pet’s best interests?
If you were both caregivers, think about what is in your pet’s best interests. Consider factors like:
- Whether one of you is going to have primary custody of your children
- Who will have the space for your pet to be comfortable
- Who will have more time to spend with your pet
- Whether one of you is going to stay in your marital home
- Whether one of you relies on the pet for emotional support
Thinking of these factors can help you determine the best possible arrangement for your pet.
Do you want to share custody?
Increasingly, pet owners are reaching agreements that allow them to share custody of a pet after a divorce. If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are on amicable terms, this could be an option for you. Such an arrangement could take many forms.
For instance, you might alternate weeks or exchange custody of your pet when you exchange custody of your children.
Whatever you ultimately decide in terms of pet custody, it is generally best to reach these decisions cooperatively outside of court. Pets are personal property in the eyes of Nebraska laws, and going to court for a resolution may not end the way you want it to.
When you have pets, their well-being and care can trigger contentious disputes during a divorce. Considering these tips can help you navigate the process of deciding who will keep your pet.