When you have not had any children with your spouse, but you have taken on several rescue animals, what happens to them when you get a divorce? It seems as though logic and reason would prevail and the animals would go with whomever can provide for their needs. However, some childless couples do view family pets as their children, and may have difficulty sharing or letting go. Here is what your divorce attorney might have to say about that.
Equal Number of Pets Divide Equally
If you have four cats, two dogs and two birds, each of you gets two cats, a dog, and a bird. Selecting which pets go where has everything to do with who the pets will follow around and who they will miss more. Dogs are more adaptable than cats, so separating them is not difficult. Cats are particular about which human in the house they will spend time with, so you should only split them up according to who the cats prefer. Birds and other small pets are not nearly as loyal so long as they are fed, so you can divide these pets up equally without any trouble.
Odd Number of Pets
An odd number of pets is clearly harder to divide. If the pets have become quite accustomed to each other or they cannot be separated from each other, you may have to make a different arrangement. Some cats and dogs will cry and cry for their housemates and then become quite destructive. You will want to avoid these behaviors as you work to divide the pets between two households now. Pets that are inseparable will need to stay together, in which case you might want to consider "pet custody" to have the pets stay and travel together.
Custody and Visitation for Pets
Sure, custody and visitation for pets sounds weird, but it is more common than you think. In California, for example, many of the wealthy residents that divorce agree to custody and visitation rights over a favorite pet. The judge then has to make a ruling about who gets what days and times with the pet, and the pet travels to and from for the divorcing owners. If you live in a state that will entertain this, you can request whatever custody and visitation "rights" you want to the family pets. Your divorce attorney can help you outline a plan of action for this particular request of the court.
Contact a law firm, like Begley Carlin & Mandio LLP, for more help.