Want to Keep Your Pet After The Divorce? These 10 Tips Will Help You

Pets are like our family, and wanting to keep their custody after divorce is justified. Know what can help you keep your pets.

Pet owners love their pets as much as their children. Courts, however, don’t see pets as anything other than properties and therefore, they are split under private property laws. The absence of custody laws for pets makes their custodianship complex during a divorce. The following tips will help you know how to keep your pets after a divorce.

According to court laws, Pets are not considered as anything other than assets. After a divorce, the court decides to give the pet to whoever it sees fit.

What are the Custody Laws for Pets

Pets do not have custody laws till now. It is incomprehensible why courts haven’t made laws in this sector yet. Some states are considering making them, but others are unsure since it carries extra costs. So as of yet, you cannot legally own your pets unless your pets are dogs.

A very few states in the USA have considered loosely applying custody laws to only dogs. The rising concerns of people have forced the states of New York, Illinois, Alaska, New Hampshire, and California to have regulations that require judges to consider pets as living beings and care for their wellbeing while giving a verdict.

10 Tips to Keep Custody of Your Pet


The following tips will give you ideas about how to keep your pets after divorce.

Sign a Prenuptial Agreement

Want to make sure that you can keep the ownership of your pet after a divorce? This is what having a prenup can do. Prenuptial agreement, or prenup for short, is an agreement you sign before marriage to decide who gets what after divorce.

Getting a prenup is an easy way to not lose assets and ownerships in court battles after divorce. You can also have a postnuptial agreement later if you don’t have a prenup. Prenups can safeguard anything that you don’t want to lose.

Make Legal Contract

You can make a legal contract to ensure the ownership of your pet. The legal contract can be made independently and can be used in your favor in court.

You can also make an informal contract with your partner. These contracts can make the battle for ownership easier.

Compromise to Keep your Pet

Compromise is important in every relationship. You can compromise on other things to make your partner give you the pet. Divorce laws ensure that each spouse gets an equal share in the division of their assets. Since pets are considered assets, the court may let you have the pet if you let go of other things.

Pets like cats and dogs get uneasy with changes in the environment. They prefer to stay in the same place in familiar territory. If one of you doesn’t compromise, then the constant evolution of the environment due to shared custody will stress your pet out.

Agree on Shared Custody

You can agree on shared custody of the pet. One of you can keep the pet, and your spouse can visit it from time to time. If you are lucky, your ex will soon get tired of seeing your house, and you can have the pet all to yourself.

Shared custody can be painful. But if neither of you can let go of the pet, then this may be your only option.

You can sign a written agreement in this case as well. Just talk to your attorney, and they’ll draw up an agreement you can both agree to.

Move to a State with Custody Laws for Pets

You can consider moving to a state that has custody laws for pets. Many states are considering adopting special pet regulations; some already have them for dogs. It may seem unnatural initially, but many couples have changed states to find more favorable state laws to get married under.

You can consider moving to these states and filing for divorce there for the jurisdiction over your case.

Present Evidence of Ownership

Another way to ensure you get to keep your pet is to present evidence of ownership. You can produce receipts that you paid for them, covered their medical bills, and the installed microchip is registered in your name. Since pets are split under personal property rights, producing evidence that you paid for them can help your case.

Think What May be Better for Your Pet

It may seem fulfilling to win against your ex after a divorce battle. But pets can sometimes be attached to one of their owners in a family. It is cruel to them to be separated from their favorite human.

Try to consider what would make your pet happy even though it would make you feel better if your pet stayed with you. The separation caused by the divorce is not suitable for the pets’ mental and physical health either.

The court will also consider these matters. They’ll likely check who is more capable of providing for the pet and the records in the microchip.

Don’t Commit a Felony to Win

It can be seen on the news sometimes how people go to jail for stealing the pets of their partners or exes. Committing such a felony can result in jail time. Your partner can also charge you with stealing if you hold on to a pet they bought. The court can remove your visitation rights in all these cases, so be careful.

Consider the Legal Changes

The legal charges for pet litigation can be as high as your general litigations. Costs can go up to 150k depending on how long the negotiations take. At some point, it may seem better just to compromise and agree to the opposite sides’ conditions for shared custody. So consider the charges before getting hell bent on keeping your pet.


Because custody laws don’t exist for pets, it is very hard to agree on their ownership. Courts always prefer that you solve these disputes through mutual agreement. Drawing out a court battle for custodianship can be costly and increases resentment. So try to get a prenup or sign contracts to ensure that you get to keep your pets according to their wellbeing.

You might also like