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Pets in Divorce

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Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally draining process, especially when children and pets are involved. Sharing a pet in divorce with children can be particularly difficult, as pets can be an important source of comfort and stability for children during this time. Here are some tips to help navigate sharing a pet in divorce with children:

Put the needs of the pet first

Remember that the well-being of the pet should be the top priority. Consider the pet's temperament, needs, and daily routines when deciding on a sharing arrangement.

Be open and honest with your children

Talk to your children about the situation and explain why you are sharing the pet. Let them know that both parents will continue to love and care for the pet and that the pet will still be a part of their lives.

Consider the children's attachment to the pet

If your children are particularly attached to the pet, it may be best to keep the pet in the family home, and have the children and pet move between the two homes. This will provide consistency and stability for the children.

Establish a schedule

Create a schedule for sharing the pet that takes into account the children's needs and routines. Be sure to communicate this schedule to both parents and to the children to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.

Be flexible

Divorce and shared custody arrangements can be unpredictable, so it's important to be flexible and willing to make adjustments to the sharing arrangement as needed. Be open to discussing and revising the schedule to ensure that it works for everyone involved.

Share expenses

Decide on how expenses related to the pet will be shared, including food, veterinary care, and grooming. This should be included in any formal agreement or contract related to the sharing arrangement.

Respect each other's time with the pet

Be respectful of each other's time with the pet and avoid using the pet as a bargaining chip. Avoid making negative comments about the other parent in front of the children.

Sharing a pet in divorce with children can be a complex and challenging process. However, by prioritizing the well-being of the pet, communicating openly and honestly with your children, creating a schedule, being flexible, and respecting each other's time with the pet, it is possible to create a sharing arrangement that works for everyone involved.

Blog posts and podcasts are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

About the Author

Laura Tarcea

Laura is a family mediator dedicated to supporting families through divorce or separation. With a background in Mental Health, Research, Program Development, and a Master of Laws in Dispute Resolution, Laura brings valuable insight and critical knowledge to parents. She strongly believes that a healthy co-parenting relationship will protect children from short-term and long-term damage. As such, Laura is a supporter of out-of-court processes to help equip parents with appropriate tools to succeed in their next chapter.

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