This may not be something that many people consider when it comes to divorce, but what happens with the family pet? It may seem like a trivial matter, or that the pet should just be treated like a piece of property. But in reality, it is far more complex than that. Many couples think of their pet as a member of their family. And in some cases, the pet may represent the child that the spouses never had. The family pet is a major aspect to many divorces nowadays.

But how do you deal with the family pet? What pieces of evidence can be used by the spouses to support their claim that they deserve custody — if not full custody, then a very large piece of the custody pie?

Well, certain pieces of evidence can help. Testimony of people who know the couple could go far in establishing who took care of the pet. Receipts can also establish some important financial information. Ultimately, though, pet custody is something that requires discussion and negotiation between the spouses and their lawyers.

It is entirely possible for the splitting spouses to establish a custody agreement in similar fashion to what a child custody agreement would look like. The spouses can establish a custody schedule; they can outline who is in charge of certain financial obligations; they can even draw up provisions for paying for dog walkers and how often the dog will be walked.

Pet custody issues are very real, and they matter more in the world of divorce today than ever before.

Source: New York Post, “Dogs are the new kids in NYC custody battles,” Lindsay Putnam, April 7, 2015