By Robert L. Mues   |   April 24th, 2021

Pet Owners Face Difficult Decision As To Who Receives The Family Pets During Divorce

What Happens to your Pet During a Breakup or a Divorce? Should Pet Owners Agree to a “Pet-Nup?”

pet owners divorceThe breaking up of a relationship, or the termination of a marriage is obviously an anxious and difficult time. Even if the ending is mutual, it is still a time fraught with emotion. There are many things to consider depending on each couple’s situation. If the couple cohabitated, either when in a relationship or within a marriage, there may be possessions to divide up. When children are involved it of course can be overwhelming and messy to figure out all the arrangements. We most commonly think about the children being the innocent party caught in the feuding between parents, but what happens to the pet or pets? During a breakup, it can be a difficult decision as to who receives the beloved family pets.

The Use of “Pet-Nup”, Name Registration and Reciept Keeping

In the UK, there was a recent study done by Maguire Family Law. It reports that lawyers are experiencing more and more separation or divorce cases where the couples are bitterly fighting with each other as to who receives custody of the pet. They conducted a survey of 1,254 people and one third of that group admitted that they loved their pet and partner equally. One third said they loved their human companion more than their pet, and about 15% confessed to loving their animal more than their partner!

Some people are already thinking ahead and taking precautions regarding their pet in case the relationship does not survive. Some are registering the pet in their own name only. Others are keeping careful track of receipts from vet bills and other pet expenses. The law firm who conducted the UK study suggested a “pet-nup” agreement so that it is spelled out in advance what is to happen to the pet should the couple decide to terminate the relationship. Although the majority of the people in the survey (65%) said there would be no visitation allowed between the pet and their ex, about a quarter had agreed to update the animal’s status via email, text, or social media.

Pet Owners Feel Increased Feelings of Happiness Says Author Michael W. White

Why are people so attached to their animal companions? Well quite simply animals typically become part of our family. They are faithful and offer unconditional love. Michael W. White who authored “Give a Dog a Bone: Spending Money on Pets Promotes Happiness” reports that through his research he has found that people who consistently splurge on things such as accessories, services or gifts for their pet have increased feelings of happiness. They feel happier when spending money on their animal companion than spending money on themselves or on other people.

Even during times of recession pet owners are willing to shell out money for their furry friends. White goes on to report that owning a pet improves both the mental and physical health of their owner. For example, dog owners who regularly walk and play with their dog get regular exercise. Wellness research indicated that owning a pet may be linked to lower coronary artery disease and lower cardiovascular risk. White also points out the emotional benefits of owning a pet. Pet owners  report higher esteem, less loneliness and overall more life satisfaction than non-pet owners.

Need Help with your Pet Issues in Time of Divorce or Separation?

In any event, figuring out a strategy for what to do with your furry friend in time of separation can be “ruff”. If you are contemplating a divorce  in the Dayton Ohio area, and wish to discuss your rights and any issues, please give us a call at 937 293-2141. Our experienced Dayton Ohio divorce lawyers at Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues are offering consultations in person, via ZOOM or over the phone.

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About The Author: Robert L. Mues
Attorney Robert "Chip" Mues has been focusing his legal practice throughout Southwest Ohio primarily in divorce and family law matters since 1978. Chip is passionate about family law and has proudly published the Ohio Family Law Blog since 2007. In addition, he is the managing partner of Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues. To learn more about him or the law firm, visit the firm's website at Appointments are available in person, over the phone or by Zoom. Call us at 937 293-2141.

Dividing Pets in a Divorce can be “Ruff”!
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