One of the most difficult parts of a divorce will be deciding who gets custody of your children. While pets are not the same as children, many people consider pets to be furry family members with just as big of a role in their lives. With almost 80 million households having a pet, deciding on custody of a pet is something that will certainly come up during a divorce. Follow these tips to ensure that you get custody of your pet.
Get a Prenuptial Agreement
Pets are treated similarly to personal property in divorce court. A judge will end up making a decision about who gets the pet if you and your former spouse cannot decide together. Those entering a marriage with a pet should consider a prenuptial agreement that states who should get the pet in the event of a divorce. This will help avoid any potential conflicts if your spouse becomes too attached to the pet that you had prior to the marriage,
Show the Paperwork
Pet ownership disputes are more likely to occur when a pet was purchased after the marriage took place. You should demonstrate that it was your decision to get the pet in order to sway a judge to side with you. Start by getting the paperwork you received when you adopted the pet and show that your name is on it.
In addition, veterinary bills can show how you have been taking on the responsibilities of caring for your pet. Dig up past invoices that show that your name is consistently the one signing the paperwork for veterinarian visits. Bring the pet license to court if it is in your name too. This paperwork doesn't guarantee you'll receive the pet as part of a divorce, but gives you a stronger argument for a judge.
Show Schedule Compatibility
Taking care of a pet is a big job, especially a dog that needs to be walked regularly. You can show how your lifestyle makes you a better fit to take care of the pet. Present your argument about how you have been the one to primarily take the dog for walks, or that you're job is close to your home and that you even come home for mid-day visits. It could also be that your former spouse travels often for work and is not even home to care for the pet.
Work with a divorce lawyer, like Gordon Liebmann Attorneys at Law, for more tips about winning custody of a pet in court.