Dealing with Pets During a Divorce - MNR – Mahoney + Nashatka + Richmond , PLLC

Often a divorce requires spouses to consider very emotional decisions. One of the emotional decisions is what do you do with your pets after you decide to split ways?

Every divorce case is different so if your pets are important to you and your situation, it is essential you raise that with your attorney. Some people can make decisions amongst themselves as to what they’re doing to do but, in some cases, splitting up the family pet is very similar to what’s going to happen with the custody of the parties’ children.

There are many different things that can be done but the most important thing to remember is that the family pets are considered property in Virginia. So, judges would like best for you to make that decision about what to do with that property on your own as opposed to having a judge make the decision about that.

There are many things that can be done. Some of them I have seen personally happen where the pets are given a visitation schedule with each spouse. Sometimes, the pets will change hands with the children, so if the parties are sharing custody of the children, the pets will follow the children in terms of where they’re going to be that weekend or that week. Other times it can be much more involved. Ultimately you can’t split the pet physically in half and so somebody must step up to the plate and make the decision as to what is going to be best for the pet.

So, remember that pets in the eyes of the law are considered property but in the eyes of the divorcing parties, they are considered family members. It is important to consider this when splitting up your marriage and make the appropriate decision for your pet.