Who Gets Custody of Pets in Divorce?


September 1, 2022

Pets are an integral part of a family, so it’s no wonder that when a couple is considering a divorce, the fate of the beloved pet can become an emotionally charged issue. This sensitive issue is best handled with the help of a professional mediator who can facilitate a fair resolution while taking into account the sensitivities of both parties who wish to retain custody of the pet.

Your pet is not just property

Pets have feelings too, although they can’t verbalize them the way humans do. Therefore, tossing your four-legged friend into the same category as a piece of furniture or a car is definitely not what any pet lover would want when deciding. who can keep the animal in case of divorce. The value of your pet cannot be calculated solely in dollars as an inanimate object.

Mediation is therefore the ideal recourse to discuss the subjective and sentimental value attached to a pet. A diligent and patient Pet Sitting Mediation Expert will help both spouses find common ground in order to find an amicable solution to the pet sitting dispute.

Factors to Consider in Pet Custody Mediation

A mediator will encourage both parties to a pet custody mediation to keep their personal differences aside and focus on what might work best for their pet. In order to make the discussions more objective and fair for both parties, the mediator will attempt to determine all relevant factors that may lead to a reasonable and mutually acceptable resolution of the animal custody issue. These may include:

  • Which spouse paid for the animal and who is the official owner according to the ownership papers?
  • Which spouse paid for pet care expenses?
  • Which spouse has primary responsibility for caring for the pet, including feeding and grooming it, ensuring it gets regular exercise, and taking it to the vet?
  • What are the respective working hours of the two spouses, and does one of them have more time available to take care of the animal?
  • After the divorce, which spouse will have enough space in their home to provide a safe and comfortable environment for the pet?
  • Is the animal more emotionally attached to one spouse?
  • Is the couple’s child so attached to the family pet that separating them could affect the child’s well-being?
  • Does either party have a history of animal neglect or abuse?

Why is mediation better than litigation for custody of a pet?

In litigation, there will be little to no room for sentimental considerations, and there’s a good chance pet decisions will be treated like any other marital asset. On the other hand, mediation will provide much more flexibility in coming to an agreement for custody and visitation of pets that takes into account the wishes and concerns of both spouses.

Mediation negotiations will take place in an informal and non-adversarial setting behind closed doors. Both spouses can freely and frankly put forward their points of view in the presence of a trusted mediator, who will ensure that privacy and confidentiality are respected. Rather than allowing a judge to make a decision about pet custody, mediation allows divorced spouses to control decisions about their beloved pet.


Roseanne Vanelle

Roseann Vanella’s experience and credentials alone set her apart from other professional state mediators. She has extensive experience in business and finance and has worked for many years in a corporate setting. Roseann is also very friendly, down to earth and she is really passionate about her job. Having gone through… more

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