Divorce and Pets


This post was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Noah Rue


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How to Avoid or Cope with Losing the Dog in the Divorce

Going through a divorce is a challenging time. Your entire world changes, and you may find yourself lonely and uncertain about the future. But having pets makes break-ups and divorces far more complicated and emotionally draining. When a dog is involved, divorce can get even more upsetting.

You may be able to keep your dog in the divorce, but you’ll need to take the right steps to ensure this. In some cases, no matter how hard you try, your ex may end up with the dog. It’s important to be prepared for both possibilities and to be ready to cope with either outcome.

Work to Prove Ownership

In the eyes of the law, pets are property, even though you might see them as beloved, living family members. That means that when your divorce goes to court, the judge will see your pet as being one of the marital assets that need to be divided between you and your ex-spouse. This means that asking for visitation rights is futile; your dog will go to either you or your ex, case closed.

This means it’s even more important to make the case that you are the rightful owner of the dog, as opposed to your ex. If you owned your dog before you got married, or if you’ve been the dog’s primary caregiver, you may be able to argue this and win ownership of the dog. Be prepared to prove that you were the caregiver, though. Receipts for vet bills, food, and supplies that you bought for your pet with your own funds will be important.

That’s the worst-case scenario. If you and your ex are on better terms, then you may be able to come to your own arrangement. You might agree to share visitation so that you can both see the dog, especially if your dog has close relationships with both of you. Consider mediation, where a neutral third party can help both of you to arrive at an agreement that works well for everyone, including your dog.

Demonstrate You Have the Best Home for Your Dog

If your ex is willing to discuss a shared arrangement for your dog, then you’ll need to show that your home is the best option if you want to have primary or full custody. You can do this by making sure that your home is set up to give your dog everything he needs.

If you’re moving to a new house after the divorce, look for one with a large, spacious backyard. And if you’re staying in your current home, take some time to create a backyard retreat. Establish shaded areas, invest in a quality fence, plan for some outdoor lighting, and create a space that you and your dog can enjoy together. There are also plenty of inexpensive options to keep your pup happy indoors and out, such as making your own dog treats and toys.

When it comes to making the case for your ownership of the dog, think about other ways your situation can contribute to a great life for the dog. Maybe your dog is more familiar with you because you’ve been the primary person to walk him and train him for the past few years. Or maybe you work from home and are able to spend more time with your dog. If you and your ex are on decent terms, plan out these benefits ahead of time and use them to present your case.

Take Time to Care for Yourself

Going through a divorce is a highly stressful and emotional time. It can drain your energy and leave you feeling defeated and frustrated. Going through a divorce when a pet’s involved is even more upsetting, though, and it can take a toll on your physical and emotional health.

If you’re dealing with feelings of anxiety and depression, consider using CBD oil to help. CBD oil can help to calm your nerves and help you to relax, even during the chaos of divorce proceedings. It may help you to get better quality sleep, which can help you to think more clearly during the day. CBD oil has even been shown to help boost moods, improving chronic sadness, so it could be a great support during this difficult time.

It’s also important to make time for activities that you enjoy. Spending time outdoors can help you fight depression and even boost your self-esteem. Exercising is a great way to work out your frustrations and enjoy the mood-improving benefits of endorphins. And, pursuing an activity you love, whether it’s going out dancing, heading to the movies with your friends, or creating art in your home, will help you to feel that you’re staying true to yourself.

Whether you are able to keep your dog or end up having to say goodbye to him in the divorce, rely on these techniques to lift your mood, support your wellbeing, and help you to move through this time. Hopefully, your four-legged-friend will be by your side as you do so.

Noah Yarnol Rue is always looking where his next trip will take him . When he’s not traveling the world, he’s writing articles on the new things he learns. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can find Noah on LinkedIn.