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After divorce, do you have to share your pet?

After divorce, do you have to share your pet?

You paid well over $2,000 for your dog, but it’s not even the money that you’re worried about as you move to get divorced. You just want to stay with your beloved pet and you can’t stand the thought of losing them. You don’t have any children, but you definitely think of your dog in the same way, almost as if it is part of the family. 

You know that parents typically have to share time with their children under joint custody rulings. Are you going to have to do the same thing with your dog?

A pet is considered property

You can share time if you and your ex work out a system to do so, and many couples do this. However, there is no legal mandate saying that you have to do so. If you get the dog in the divorce, you never have to let your ex spend time with it again, and he or she doesn’t have to let you see the dog if they get it. 

The reason is that dogs are property, legally speaking. You bought the pet and you own it, just as you may have paid $2,000 for your kitchen table or your sofa. The law sees this the same way. If you and your spouse can’t agree on a solution, the court can rule on who gets the dog while dividing the marital property. You could get the sofa and your ex could get the dog, for instance, and the court would view that as even — despite the fact that you probably would not. 

As you move through this complex process, you must know what legal options you have. 

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