You and your spouse bought a dog together when you first got married. You are very excited to welcome this lovable little creature into your lives.
Now that you’re getting divorced, you’re not sure what to do with the dog. Both of you would like to still see your pet, and you now have children who have also bonded with the animal. Is the court going to create a custody plan for your dog in the same way that they would for your kids?
The court sees your dog as property
In general, no, the court may sign off on a custody plan that you and your spouse agree to, but they’re not going to make one for you. The reason for this is that custody plans are only created for children, not for property. The court still views your dog as property, even though you probably view the dog as part of the family.
What this means is that, if the two of you can’t come up with a solution, then the court is going to just consider the dog as part of the property division process. Perhaps you paid $2,000 for the pet, and you also paid $2,000 for your kitchen table. The court may simply give one of you the kitchen table and the other one the dog. This doesn’t feel fair to you, because you care much more about your beloved pet, but it is fair in the eyes of the law because these are just property items with similar values.
If you’d like to avoid an outcome like this, it’s very important to understand your legal options from the very beginning. There are steps you can take to come up with a solution that will work.