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Who gets the family pet in a divorce?

The household pet is often considered to be an important part of the family. The unspoken joy provided by a pet is a great source of comfort for many. You rely on your pet to help you through stressful times, but what happens when divorce threatens your companionship?

Deciding custody of a pet can be just as contentious as deciding custody of children and assets. Here's what you need to know about who gets the family pet in a divorce.

Greyhound, gray area

Pets are viewed as personal property like most assets in a divorce. It is tough to consider a living creature in such black and white terms, but ultimately, you could make your pet's value considerable to a dollar amount and trade assets from there.

However, due to the strong emotional ties we have with our pets, a creative agreement can be reached through mediation.

Best friend, best interest

Your pet deserves the best care possible. The ability to provide care for the pet should be a key consideration. Is there one spouse who travels more who would be less able to take care of the pet? Are you available in the middle of the day to let a dog outside? Ask yourself who provided more care for the pet during your marriage in terms of regular feeding and exercise.

Pets, like people, also need stability to ensure their wellbeing. Because pets provide comfort for your children and vice versa, you could consider the best interest of your pet in conjunction with the best interest of your children.

Special animal, special circumstances

Because animals are special to our lives, we may need them for comfort in special circumstances. If your divorce stems from issues with an injunction or domestic abuse, you and your pet are protected under Wisconsin state law.

The safety of your family and your pet should be the highest priority in a divorce. A free consultation with a family law attorney is available to answer your questions about divorce, asset division and custody of children and pets.

Divorce is an uncertain time in life for more than just the spouses involved. With the right legal assistance, you find clarity in your life after marriage.

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