You got married two years ago and bought a dog together. You don’t have any children, but there is no doubt in your mind that you see that dog as your baby. Both you and your spouse love your pet and feel very connected to him or her.
Now you’re getting a divorce. Do you need to create a custody schedule for your dog, just as you would if you had children?
Most state laws view pets as property
First and foremost, you absolutely can create a schedule for your dog that you and your ex can adhere to if you’d like to do so. If you’re both on the same page about this, you’re free to share your pet even after divorce.
Legally speaking, though, you don’t have to create a custody plan or share time with the dog. This is because the law sees a pet as property, not a member of your family.
If you had kids and couldn’t decide on a custody schedule yourself, the court would make a ruling that, ideally, would keep you both involved. If you can’t decide how to split up the time with your pet, though, the court isn’t going to give you that luxury. They’re just going to rule on which one of you gets the dog, the same way that they’ll decide how to divide your bank account or choose who gets a nightstand. Your dog is just one more piece of property in this sense.
Protect your rights during a divorce
For pet owners, losing access to a family dog or car can be one of the hardest parts of a divorce. Make sure you know what rights you have and that you understand the differences between the way the law looks at your pet and the way you do.