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Dogs and Divorce

Dogs and Divorce (Part III)

You’re Getting Divorced, but you have both fur and human children…

We have discussed what happens with pets during breakups, but what happens when kids are involved? Parents separating can be devastating enough for children. Losing the comfort of their furry friends can make these life changes particularly difficult.

When couples who have children are getting divorced, pet “custody” can become a different issue, the resolution of which can vary depending on the facts of each individual case.

While the law in Colorado does indeed treat pets as property, the court does have the authority to determine that some property should be considered as belonging to the children. While this principle can apply to inanimate objects (such as clothing, collections, furniture), it also applies to pets.

When couples purchase a dog for their children during the marriage, some courts believe that it is most equitable to have that dog travel with the children between homes. That way, the children have their dog with them all the time and can ease the discomfort of parenting time exchanges. Comfort items can help alleviate some of the stress children face when their parents are going through divorce, and having family pets travel with the children can help them feel stable.

Ultimately, when you are considering your options regarding pet “custody,” you should be prepared to consider creative solutions. If you go to court, the court has broad discretion and may simply treat your best furry friend as though he or she is an inanimate piece of property.

Inevitably, there will be scenarios where parties do not want to share custody of the family pet. There are also times where family pets do have a monetary value (such as show or breeding animals). The experienced family law lawyers at GEM Family Law can assist you in determining how to navigate the complicated issue of “pawrenting time”. Call today for a free consultation.

Co-authored by: Meagan Moodie, Partner, and Adeline Sulentich, Associate Attorney