caring for pets during divorce

The Secret To Caring For Pets While Going Through Divorce

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One of the most common reasons people relinquish or rehome their pets is because of divorce. Due to couples calling it quits, there are millions of animals entering the shelters every year. You are not a terrible person for wanting to find a better home for your pet when going through tough times, but there are some factors you should consider for your pet.

The Impact of Divorce on Pets

A stable, loving home and a regular routine are what is best for our furry friends. This has been proven time and again by research. However, your pet will not be in good shape if you give them up to an uncertain future in a shelter or a new home. Your pet may also act out or experience anxiety when there is stressful domestic discord. Many pets, especially dogs, are used to habits. They go through a major disruption in their routine and can demonstrate symptoms of separation anxiety during divorce. Therefore, a perfectly trained dog may start to bark a lot or have a few accidents. This does not make them “bad.” It’s just their natural, short-term reaction.

How Pets Are Treated Legally

Those of us who love pets know they are part of the family. But, they are treated like property according to the law. Therefore, the judge probably will not care whose side of the bed your pet slept on or who took care of the cat when your divorce battle goes to court and custody is disputed. A recent study found that there has been a 22 percent increase in the number of custody hearings for pets. Custody battles almost always end in heartache so if you can, try to put together a notarized agreement.

Consider Splitting Custody

After a divorce, different people will prefer different pet care arrangements. For some people, a one month on, one month off split custody arrangement would work well. Others might find it works better to have one primary caregiver, and the other partner can serve as a kind of “petsitter.” One surprising finding is that with split custody, divorced individuals learn to become friends with their exes over time as they are forced to cooperate in a fairly easy-to-manage situation.

Divorce is a painful process, but it almost always leads to a better situation for everyone involved. By keeping your pet’s best interests in mind, you are sure to have a more positive outcome for everyone involved.

 Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.