Divorce will be hard on everyone in your family. Your children still want to be close with both parents. Each of you will want to be with the children as much as possible. When your family also has a four-legged member, like a dog, there can be even more to disagree about as you strategize for your life after divorce.
One thing you may not consider is how the schedule with your pet could affect the mental health of your children. For some families, the simplest solution for custody matters will involve the children and the dog moving from one house to the other together during each custody exchange.
Animals offer children emotional support during divorce
Your pet is already a beloved member of your family, but their role will be even more important during this difficult time for your children. The unconditional love that a dog supplies and its never-ending sense of community and togetherness can help children weather the difficulties of divorce with fewer issues.
Your children will likely feel happier when they can stay in the same place that the dog lives during the divorce. Sometimes, only one parent can host the dog, but other times, both parents have homes where the animal could safely and legally stay.
Rather than fighting over the animal like some parents fight over custody, maybe you and your ex can recognize that the children are happiest when their four-legged friend is around. Since both of you want to be with the children and to still have a relationship with your pet, having the dog move from house to house with the children could be an ideal solution. It keeps the schedule consistent for the children and gives them constant access to an important support.
The courts aren’t going to micromanage pet custody
Shared pet custody lets you see the children regularly and get to spend time with your companion animal. Maintaining that bond can make divorce easier on both parents, as well as on your pet and your children.
Unfortunately, the Arizona family courts are unlikely to divide custody of an animal in a pending divorce. However, you and your ex can reach a settlement that includes animal-sharing terms on your own. Thinking about what will be easiest for the children is often an admirable approach to custody and other child-related issues.