This is part of Alexander & Associates’s ongoing divorce tips series. To read other posts in this series, click here!

How to Decide Who Keeps the Pets During a Divorce

Divorce can be a difficult and emotional process, especially when there are pets involved. Deciding who keeps the pets can be a source of contention between divorcing spouses, but it’s important to make the best decision for the animals’ well-being. In the state of Colorado, pets are considered to be property, even though many people love them like children, and are therefore treated as any other property and divided. Colorado judges often do not want to get involved in the debate over who keeps Fido.

If a set of divorcing spouses cannot agree on how pet ownership is divided, many judges will state that the pet must be sold or re-homed – many pet parents consider this a worst case scenario and go great lengths to avoid this. Other judges may be willing to determine which owner can provide a home that is in the best interest of the animal and assign ownership accordingly. Simply put, this depends on the judge, and it may be best to determine this before bringing it to the judge.

Here are some tips on how to decide who keeps the pets during a divorce:

    1. Consider the best interests of the pets
      The most important factor to consider is the well-being of the pets. You should consider which spouse is better equipped to care for the pets and provide them with a safe and loving home. Take into account who has been the primary caregiver for the pets and who has the financial means to take care of them.


    1. Look at the living arrangements
      Consider the living arrangements of both spouses. If one spouse is moving into a small apartment where pets are not allowed, it may be best for the other spouse to keep the pets. If both spouses are able to provide suitable homes for the pets, you may need to take other factors into account.


    1. Consider the emotional attachment to the pets
      Pets are often considered members of the family, and it can be difficult to give them up. If one spouse has a stronger emotional attachment to the pets, it may be best for them to keep the pets. However, both spouses should be willing to compromise and consider the well-being of the pets above their own emotions.


    1. Consider who purchased the pets
      In many cases, one person owned a pet before entering the marriage. Naturally, this leads that person to be the individual who keeps the pets when the marriage ends. However, it is also prevalent for couples to adopt pets together. If only one person paid for the pet, or the pet’s adoption fees, then they can make a case that the animal is their property.


    1. Seek mediation or legal advice
      If you are unable to come to a decision on your own, seek the advice of a mediator or lawyer. A mediator can help you come to a mutually beneficial agreement, while a lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and obligations regarding pet custody.


Who Keeps the Pets

In conclusion, deciding who keeps the pets in a divorce can be a challenging decision, but it’s important to consider the best interests of the animals. By taking into account the well-being of the pets, the living arrangements of both spouses, emotional attachments to the pets, and the possibility of joint custody, you can make the best decision for everyone involved.

Luckily, Fort Collins Divorce Lawyers, Alexander & Associates Attorney’s at Law LLC can help simplify this process! Give us a call today.