Ask anyone who has been through a divorce and they’ll tell you how daunting it can be. Aside from the separation itself, there are various elements of your life that come into play. Finances, child custody, and assets are just the tip of the iceberg.
One aspect that regularly gets overlooked in the midst of the stress is what happens to your pets. The law typically treats pets as property, just like any of your other belongings, but many couples opt for custody similar to their children. That, of course, can come with a lot of problems. Here’s how to manage pet custody issues after divorce.
Pets and the Law
While pets are typically treated as property during a divorce, several recent cases now give them a special status in-between a person and property. This ruling primarily relies on the judge presiding over your divorce, though.
If you’re going through a divorce and want to seek this status for a pet, it’s best to rely on the aid of a legal professional. These Bloomington IL divorce attorneys at Stange Law Firm are an excellent example of the kind of expertise it takes in these matters.
Outside of the Court
Couples can, at any time, agree upon their own terms for custody so long as any rules set by the court are followed. In the case of pets, that could mean visitation rights as well as the pet staying with one person or the other at varying times. Since many courts still consider pets property, this is the more likely scenario.
This custody agreement can be agreed upon outside of the court, but it usually done through mediation. Mediators consider aspects like travel, the age of the pet, and the financial costs involved in custody to reach an agreement that benefits both parties involved.
Keep in mind that mediation still requires the help of legal professionals but will still save you the money of heading to court. Mediation is also an excellent option when language and other barriers are present, which are often challenging to address in the courtroom. Thankfully, there are more bilingual attorneys than ever before.
Dealing with Issues
As with all divorces, issues are likely to arise long after the settlement is over. One partner may not respect the agreement or change their mind about aspects of custody like visitation times. With pets in the mix, this can cause emotions to run high.
The best thing you can do is remain calm and not say anything you might regret later. Get in touch with your lawyer and allow the legal system to handle the situation. Your ex breaching a court order or mediation agreement is against the law and must be dealt with accordingly.
In some cases, one partner may abuse an animal to get back at the other. If this heinous act is taking place, report it to the police immediately and get in touch with your lawyer. Animal cruelty and neglect is illegal, making persecution of this crime the best way to remove your pet from that situation.