People who have never had pets may not truly get how deeply pet lovers love their pets. These pets are members of the family. Their toys take over the living room as much as a child’s toys do. They get gifts for the holidays. Some even get their own rooms. Famous designers have created lines of pet accessories. There is pet insurance and there are even pet psychics. There are also pet custody battles. And those can get pretty hairy.
A pet owner may be unaware that the law doesn’t see a pet as a family member. In a courtroom, a pet is part of the property settlement. Plain and simple. And as part of the settlement, Rover will go with whoever the judge decides. His decision will be weighed by several factors. One such factor is if the pet’s presence predated the relationship. Because the pet is property, the person who had him first owns him. Also if pet custody is mentioned in the prenuptial agreement, it’s pretty cut and dry. Other considerations include primary care. The person who can prove that he or she did most of the feeding and veterinary visits typically has the stronger case. If one person’s job involves a lot of travel, he or she will probably not get Rover. And if there are children, Rover will usually go with them to avoid any further pain or loss.
With all the strong emotions that come out during a divorce, a pet custody battle can get quite vicious. If at all possible, settle this matter privately. Don’t let the judge be forced to putting your dog in the middle of the room and seeing who he comes to.