Divorce can bring up a lot of different questions, depending on your situation. If you’re a parent, you’re likely wondering who’s going to live with the children. If not, then you’ll still be wondering how assets are going to be divided.
A pet dog can feel like sort of a gray area. It’s clearly not a child, but it’s also clearly not just an asset that you purchased. You feel like the dog is a major part of your family. So how do you address this in a divorce and who gets the dog?
Technically, pets are property
The first thing to understand is that the way that you feel about your dog doesn’t matter here. In the eyes of the law, even if you consider the dog part of your family, he or she really is just an asset. Your dog is property. It is something that you purchased and that you now own, just the way that you own your refrigerator or your couch.
This can cause a lot of problems in a divorce because it means that the court isn’t going to give you some sort of a custody ruling where you share ownership of your pet. If you and your spouse can’t determine how to take care of this on your own, the court can rule on what happens to the dog during the property division process, but they’re just going to pick one person and give them the dog while giving other assets to their ex. This may not be favorable for either of you.
As such, it’s important to consider all of the options that you have to set up a plan that will work.