Some people are so attached to their pets that they treat them like children. So what happens when pet parents get divorced? Michigan State University's Animal Law Center states that while most courts still view pets as property, some are beginning to consider issues like visitation and custody. Some courts are actually making decisions based on what is in the best interest of the pet. If you are getting divorced and concerned about custody of your beloved pet, here are some tips. 

Throw Your Ex a Bone

If at all possible, you will want to work out a pet custody arrangement with your soon-to-be ex. If you cannot work together to come to some type of agreement, you will be leaving the decision entirely to the court. That will take away any control you have, and the judge may give the pet to your ex completely. If your ex is angry at you, you may never see that pet again. 

An attorney, like Abom & Kutulakis LLP, can help you and your ex figure out how to divide time with your pet. Be sure that your agreement gets written into your divorce papers so you have something to point to if your ex does not comply. 

Prove You are Top Dog

If you and your ex cannot agree on a pet custody arrangement, you will have to prove to a judge that you are the right person to have the pet. If the pet was yours before you got married, the law is most likely on your side. If not, you will have to try to convince the judge to award the animal to you. Here are some things to consider. 

  • Who has primary care of the pet? Get your veterinarian to sign a statement saying that you are the person who brings the pet to the vet and takes care of its medical needs. You can also get statements from groomers, boarders, and other pet professionals. 
  • Do you have the right home for a pet? Show the court that you are living in a home with a yard or an apartment near a park or some place where a pet can be happy. 
  • Have your children bonded with the pet? If you have primary custody of your children, you can argue that taking the pet away from them is psychologically harmful. 

Don't Dog on Your Ex

Unless your ex has been abusive to your pet, you should refrain from making negative statements about him or her to the court. It just makes you look bad. Focus on why you should have the pet, not why your ex should not. 

Getting custody of a pet can be tricky, but it is worth fighting for if you and your pet are emotionally bonded. Use these tips for the best chance of keeping your pet after the divorce.