Sharing Custody of Your Pet With Your Ex

Many of us consider our pets members of our family. That’s why deciding who gets custody of a pet during a divorce is extremely difficult. You can’t dream of being without your furry companion, but know that your ex loves him too. The good news is that you have the option of entering into a shared custody agreement. If you think that would be the best decision for you and your ex, the two of you may want to write out an agreement that includes how you will handle every type of situation with your pet. Here are a few matters to consider:

Decide on Sharing Schedules

The first matter you and your ex have to decide on is when each person will get the pet. It’s important to consider both of your schedules and the best interests of your furry family member. For example, if you work long hours during the week and your ex doesn’t, it may be better for him or her to have the pet on weekdays. That way, the pet will get attention it deserves and won’t get lonely.

Determine Who Pays for What

Pets might not be as expensive as kids, but they still cost quite a bit. The costs of food, grooming, vet bills and other necessary expenses can add up after a while. That’s why it’s essential to divide these costs up as evenly as possible so no one feels overwhelmed or have ill feelings toward the other.

Figure Out What to Do If Pet Gets Ill

While we would love for our pets to stay healthy forever, that just isn’t realistic. Just like humans, pets can develop a wide range of illnesses and some of them can be life-threatening. You and your ex should sit down and figure out what the two of you will do if your pet gets extremely ill. Will you consider the possibility of surgery or other expensive treatments? Knowing how you’ll handle illnesses from the beginning will help you avoid headaches down the road.

Consider What Will Happen If One Moves Far Away

It’s not guaranteed that you and your ex will love close to each other forever. One of you may even decide to move out of state own the road. It’s important to have a plan in place if one of you does make a big move later on. After all, it won’t be practical for you to get the pet every other week if your ex moves several states away.

Sharing custody of a pet with an ex does have some complexities, but it isn’t impossible. If you plan ahead and are willing to make necessary compromises, things should work out just fine. If you need assistance drafting a custody agreement for your pet, don’t hesitate to contact a Bloomington family lawyer. He or she can help you create a solid agreement and answer any of your questions and concerns.


Thank you to our friends and contributors at Pioletti & Pioletti Attorneys at Law for the insight into custody laws.