If you have a pet, then you know that the idea of leaving it behind in divorce is not one you want to think about even for a second. Pets are like children to some; they’re members of the family, and thinking about being away from them is hard. The problem is that a pet is only one being; how can you really spend time with it when you’re going to divorce your partner? What’s the best way to decide who lives with the pet?
When couples who share pets split, this can become an issue. Who will the dog live with? Where will the cat move? Can you share custody of the pet?
In one case reported in the news, a 33-year-old man and his ex, a 42-year-old woman, split the time they shared with their dog. For six months, the dog spends its time in Virginia, and for the other six months, it lives in British Columbia. This is an expensive solution for the pair, but living without their pet proved too much for either party.
Around 10 per cent of divorces become contentious over pets owned by the family. Around 27 per cent of lawyers have said that pet-related custody cases have been on the rise over the last five years, too. The most commonly fought over animal is “Man’s Best Friend,” the dog, while cats were fought over less often.
It may be easier if a couple shares children, because the pets tend to go where the kids go. In situations where money is an issue, the party making more may end up with the pet, because it can be costly in the early years of their lives.