If you co-own your dog with another person, have you ever thought about what would happen if you were no longer with that person? Sunny idea to think about, I know, but stop for a second and think about it. Who would the dog live with? Would you split ownership? Who would decide?
Since my husband usually refers to our dogs as my dogs, as in “your dogs did….” or “you brought these dogs into the house” — I figure they’d go with me if we were to split. Then again, those two dogs have my husband so wrapped around their little paws, he would probably be heartbroken without them (moreso than without me).
“Pets are considered property in every state in the country. For years, they have been divvied up like furniture during divorce proceedings. But times are changing.” — What About Wally
“Pet custody cases have grown as much as 15% over the past five years,” says David Pisarra, a family law attorney from Santa Monica, California. Having personally dealt with the heartbreak of figuring out pet custody, David, along with pet consultant Steven May, have co-authored a book called What About Wally? Co-Parenting a Pet with Your Ex. The book contains clear tips for figuring out co-parenting, and how to continue to care and love for a pet after the love for each other has gone away.
I had a chance to speak to David about his book at a recent conference. His love for pets was so evident, that I can’t think of a better person to share knowledge of how to navigate a difficult situation like the dissolution of a relationship where a pet is concerned.
Here’s hoping you never have to be in a situation where custody of a pet is a concern, but if you do, remember to respect the love the pet has given you both by continuing to give it the love it deserves.