divorce can be a messy affair. Sometimes divorces are so messy people fight about which pieces of silver they want. Sometimes divorces are not messy, but trying to decide who gets the dog (or cat, or snake, or whatever animal you both loved) is a very difficult decision.
Interestingly, but very unfortunately, in a divorce case in Colorado, the law considers pets as property. Therefore, the judge in your divorce case could “divide” up the pets, just as she/he can divide up your household furniture. In order to prevent a horrible scenario wherein the judge must decide who gets the dog, clients in a divorce case should be mindful of the following tips on trying to choose in this tough situation.
First, talk about it. Can you figure out if one spouse wants it and the other doesn’t mind “giving it up”? Are you two on good enough terms to talk politely and somewhat rationally about what are the best interests of the pet?
Second, think about it realistically. Who has the time for it? Who has the money for it? Pets are lifelong commitments wherein the potential now single owner should be thinking about if they are away from home too long everyday, or if they have a job wherein they can pay for emergency or unexpected situations where the pet needs care from a veterinarian.
Third, who has been taking care of it? Was it someone’s before the marriage? These are things the judge would look at to determine who would get the pet. So, you should think about it too; thinking about what factors the judge will look at may help you determine what is in the pet’s best interest.
In conclusion, you and your spouse should try very hard to reach an agreement before a court decides for you. You could also have your attorney draw up an agreement about what you and your spouse have decided about the pet. This written agreement could include who decides what, who gets the pet when, how the pet support/costs will be split, and other possible consequences of splitting custody of a pet.
Protecting the best interests of your pet is an aspect of a divorce that you may or may not have thought about yet. At Peter Loyd Weber & Associates, we are here to help you think of everything, and protect your interests in all aspects of a divorce, including how to best plan for your pet’s future. Call us at 720-863-7755 for a free phone consultation today, and get a small piece of mind about how to proceed with a divorce.