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Do you need to make a pet custody plan?

When couples get divorced, they know that they have to divide up custody of their children, at least in most cases. The general rule is that courts try to assign joint or shared custody so that both parents get to remain involved with the children. The parents create a schedule showing what they are responsible for and when they have a right to see the kids.

However, maybe you also have a pet that you both love. You’re wondering if you can set up a custody plan for your pet or what the court is going to order when you go through the divorce.  There are a few things to know.

Your pet is property

The first important thing to realize is that your pet counts as property, not a part of your family. It’s just something that you purchased, the same way you purchased a television or a kitchen table. This means that dividing your property between the two of you will only give the pet to one or the other – i.e., your spouse gets the dog and you get the table – and there will not necessarily be a custody plan assigned by the court.

As you can see, most people are opposed to this. You think of the pet as part of the family. It is worth more, to you, than any asset with a similar financial value.

You are allowed to set up a plan

If you’d like, you and your ex do have the option to share your pet. You can create a plan or simply send the pet back-and-forth with the children on their custody schedule. There’s nothing prohibiting you from doing this, but there’s also no legal obligation to do it. If the court is forced to make the decision when dividing property, they will just assign the pet to one person or the other, while giving different assets with a similar value to the person who didn’t get the pet.

Not an ideal set up

Allowing the court to decide who gets your pet isn’t always ideal. This is why you and your ex need to know about all of the options you have to set up the right plan for you.