We are so emotionally attached to our pets that it seems silly to consider them as property in the event of a divorce. How do we protect ourselves and our beloved pets?

Paperwork is important. Be certain to recognize whose name(s) are recorded as the owners if the pet is AKC registered. Review the vet records to confirm that you are also listed as a contact. It is a good idea to have copies of medical records, ID numbers and other significant information. If you acquired the pet before marrying, find purchase documentation that proves you are legally the owner.

Consider parenting plans. Think about a shared guardianship arrangement. Just because the law distinguishes pets as property does not mean that we must characterize them as that. Since family law is special, Courts may honor a sensible and equitable agreement, even if it not technically a correct legal motion. If you have children, it might be reasonable to include your pet along with their schedule.

Remember the details. If you decide on sharing your pet, keep in mind that you need to agree on pet maintenance expenses other than food, such as grooming and vet bills. Agree on how you will make decisions when your pet gets into its older years, even though it is an uncomfortable subject.

Have compassion. Your spouse likely has formed the same close bond with your pet as you have. As much as you love your pets, your spouse likely has also formed a close attachment with them. Also realize that your pet probably loves your spouse too and would miss your spouse very much. If we truly regard our pets as children, we need to keep their best interests in mind and to be unselfish. Sometimes we need to make compromises because we love them so much.

A divorce presents many emotional challenges. We specialize in family law and can help you, your children, or your pets get through this difficult time. Call the family law experts today at Affordable Legal Services at 608-834-1355.

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