What Happens To The Family Dog After A Divorce?

As a divorce lawyer, and as an animal lover, the question of canine custody is one that tugs at our heart-strings. It is also a question that has some interesting answers.

Divorce? Who Gets To Keep The Dog?

Dogs are considered personal property in the eyes of the law. Therefore, when making your list of assets in a divorce settlement, the dog will receive a monetary value. This “price on your dog” is not based on emotional attachment or significance, but entirely on measurable aspects: breed, health, abilities, age, etc. Essentially, this price will be what a dog-loving stranger might pay for this dog, were you to sell her.

Whomever gets primary custody of the dog will likely take on the dog’s expenses. There is no equivalent for child support in the care of a dog. I have heard cases of a divorce lawyer helping establish joint or shared custody of a pair of dogs, and the schedule for shared time can and should be put into writing if that is the desired situation post-separation. Visitation rights are often negotiated as well.

Custody Of Dogs After Divorce

As for which of the parties takes custody, there are several factors which a court will take into consideration.

  • Did the dog belong to one of the partners before they were married?
  • In the case of children, does one parent have primary custody?
  • Who can best afford to take care of the dog(s)?

These are sensitive topics, of course, but we can help you get through this process, and help you protect yourself. If you would like to speak with us in person or over the phone, please call us at 513-891-7087. Donnellon, Donnellon, & Miller has Cincinnati divorce lawyers on our team who have dealt with situations similar to yours, and can offer advice to you and the rest of your family.