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Who gets the dog in a divorce?

| Aug 28, 2020 | Property Division |

Deciding who gets your dog can be hard during a divorce because a dog occupies a unique space in your life. You probably think of the dog almost like a child. You come up with a parenting plan and share custody of your kids — and some couples do this with their pets, as well — but your dog is technically property. 

With other types of property that you cannot split in half, the usual tactic is to sell that property or agree that one person gets one item and the other person gets something of equal value. Selling the dog is out of the question; you’re not in this for the $800 you spent when you bought it. But is anything else really of equal value? If your ex gets the dog and you get a couch, are you happy with the division of those assets?

This makes for a complex situation, and some courts have set up unique ways to decide. In one case, for instance, the judge determined that one person would get the dog and the other would get $500. They both wanted the dog, of course, so they went to a park. The dog was separated from them and then released. It ran to the woman first, so the man got the money and she got the dog. 

As noted, some couples also share their pets after divorce, but this too can be hard. If you don’t have children, do you really want to stay in close contact with your ex just to spend time with your dog?

When a divorce becomes complicated, both people must know exactly what legal options they have. Talking to an experienced attorney can help.