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Do you own dogs or cats and are thinking about a divorce?  Arrangements for the pets are often an after-thought in the divorce settlement.

The current divorce rate for first time marriages is around 50%.  Sixty-three percent of US households own pets, with the majority of those animals being dogs, according to survey results conducted by  The National Pet Owners.  Put those percentages together and it is easy to understand why there is a need to think about what is good for the pet(s) as you go through your separation or divorce.

Fighting over pet custody has caused many divorce negotiations to come to a screeching halt.  Pets are more than mere possessions and hold a special place in the owners’ hearts.

If you find yourself in a dispute over your pets, the following points may be able to shed some light on strategies for negotiating your pet arrangements in the separation or divorce settlement.

1.  Decide on how the pet expenses will be split:  vet bills, grooming, food, supplies, toys, training classes, regular wellness exams, emergency care, boarding and dog-walkers

2.   Is pet insurance a viable option?

3.  Is there more than one pet?  Are these pets bonded to each other?  It is probably better to keep the pets together if they are bonded.  Separating them may not be in their best interest.

4.  Are there children involved?  Often the pet stays where the children will spend most of their time because of their attachment to the pet.

5.  Did you come into the marriage relationship with the pet?  That pet should most likely stay with you unless, for some reason, your spouse developed more of a bond with the animal than you.

6.  Is the pet especially subject to a routine schedule?  If so, a monthly rotation, rather than a week-to-week schedule, might work out better for you and the pet.

7.  Which spouse works longer than the other or travels more often?  Is one spouse not working, working at home or able to take the pet to work with them?

Whatever the specifics of the negotiated arrangements, in relatively amicable divorces, being able to share the custody arrangements of the pet can be a great way to keep your pet active and satisfied.  It can also let each spouse maintain a relationship with their beloved pet.

At Financial Solutions for Divorce, we have been providing divorce analysis, mediation and expert witness services since 2007 to hundreds of divorcing individuals and couples.  Visit our website, www.divorcefinance.info, or call 502-855-3475, to learn about how Financial Solutions for Divorce can help you (or your clients) survive divorce financially.

Cute dog with cat. Love