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The Divorce Attorney Journal

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    June 24, 2015
    8 yearsago

    Help your pet survive your divorceYou may consider your pet part of the family but, when it comes to divorce, pets are typically considered personal property and dealt with as such. It can be upsetting to think of your beloved animal being demoted to such a place, but in many courts’ eyes, creating a custody plan for a pet would be like trading a big-screen TV back and forth from week to week. The way it works out, one half of the couple is inevitably going to get less time with their once-shared pet, if they get any time at all. If you are the one who is lucky enough to keep your family pet in your divorce, your pet is going to need some TLC to adjust to the changes in your family. 

    Animals can have very human needs. Here are some responsibilities of pet ownership that you’ll have to tend to even more diligently to help your pet weather their own divorce from your partner and their known way of life:

    1. Maintain Routine

    Moving to a new place can be traumatic for a pet. Even staying in the same home but realizing familiar items and people are no longer in it can be difficult for an animal to understand. They may lash out with misbehavior or undesirable acts like scratching or chewing the furniture, bodily function slip-ups, biting or growling at familiar people, and more. Separation anxiety is a real thing for some animals, and it’s not beyond dogs in particular to experience anger, relief, stress, sadness, and joy as the turmoil of a divorce swirls around them. Maintaining an established daily routine as far as who walks, feeds, or sleeps with the animal is important to helping your pet feel safe and happy.

    Do you need a “pre-pup”? 6 crazy real-life pre-nup agreements >>

    2. Be Consistent

    When children are going through a difficult time, parents may be more lenient because they feel bad for whatever trauma or discomfort that child is enduring. This always ends up with very bad results, and the same thing will happen if you go too easy on your pet. If your dog wasn’t allowed on the couch pre-divorce, they shouldn’t be allowed on there post-divorce if you’re inevitably going to get upset about the shedding they’re doing which is why you established the no-couch rule in the first place. Be consistent about discipline and house rules. Your dog will appreciate the norm staying the norm.

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    3. Share the Love

    The emotional connection between people and pets is undeniable, and your pet will know that something isn’t quite right with you. They are highly attuned to emotions and moods, and fights and tension won’t go completely ignored by your pet. Divorce can be overwhelming and all-encompassing. Your pet’s emotions can mirror yours, so keep that in mind as you navigate your divorce. Don’t neglect your animal or allow your pet’s needs to fall to the wayside. Keep giving them the hugs and snuggles and playtime they deserve and are used to. And allow your pet to comfort you, rely on him for love and affection, and make sure you’re not taking any anger or resentment you have for your former spouse out on your pet.

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    4. Consider Your Children

    Children of divorce may really come to rely on your family pet as the transitions that accompany divorce take their toll. Even though it may be less than ideal, you may be able to informally include your family pet in the parenting time agreement so that the pet travels with your child to and from each parent’s house. Whether you have children or not, if you already think about your pet like a child, consider how they would feel if left alone or kenneled often. Pets do best when they have someone to keep them company and they aren’t locked up all the time. Make sure you have room in your new life for your pet.

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    5. Make the Right Decision for Your Pet

    Since joint custody of your pet is an unlikely scenario in any divorce settlement, only one of you is going to walk away with the animal. Are you the best animal parent? Maybe your pet loves your ex best. It can hurt to admit that, but it’s ultimately better for your pet to live with the human who’s going to make them the happiest. Otherwise, you’ll be the disgruntled pet owner living with an animal who’d rather be with someone else, and that can feel like being in a not-so-great marriage all over again. Save yourself the grief, make the right choice for your pet, and consider starting over with another animal in your new life.

    Pets don’t have any concept of time, and the divorce transition can be very difficult on them. As a pet owner, you have the responsibility to consider the best interests of your animal and the human-animal bond. If you have concerns about how your pet will be affected by your divorce, ask your Michigan divorce attorney the questions you have, especially if they concern financial support in regard to pet care, feeding, and insurance. Contact Michigan Divorce Help in Mt. Clemens, MI, to schedule your initial interview today.

    What makes us the right divorce attorneys for you?

    Family Law Expertise

    Most lawyers are in a general practice and do some of everything. One of our main focuses is on Family law and being expert at divorce, custody and support matters.

    Strong Relationships

    We are in court daily, working with the family court judges, their staff and clerks, the Friend of the Court office, the Bar Association and other attorneys working in this area. We pride ourselves on fighting hard for our clients while working well with everyone.


    Our extensive experience and strong relationship with the courts and our peers leads many judges and attorneys to hire us to act as Mediators in other Family Law cases. Make no mistake; having a strong working relationship with the court can have a massive impact on your case. Unlike most attorneys, we have no fear of the court room and are in trial regularly against the best in the business. We see the judges every week and maintain strong ties with their staff.

    We Care

    Although every attorney can “handle” your case, Michigan Divorce Help cares about you and your family. We work extremely hard to keep this difficult process civil and to shelter your children from as much of the negative facets as possible.


    Once your case is concluded, we will be there to help you with any post-judgment problems that may arise.


    Everyone’s financial situation is different and we work with our clients to formulate a fee arrangement that works within your means.


    We have handled every possible situation involving domestic law. We will do everything possible to wrap up your case in a timely manner, avoiding delays that cause unnecessary legal fees.


    When your case cannot be easily solved, we will fight hard and use all of our resources to win. Unlike most attorneys, we have no fear of the court room and we regularly win cases against the best in the business at trial.

    Expert Staff

    Unlike many attorneys who have a part-time typist and work 30 hours a week, we have an expert staff available all day long to assist you and provide immediate service.

    Personal Service

    At Michigan Divorce Help, your case will be handled by an experienced family law attorney. Each of our attorneys in our family law division has many years of experience in handling family law matters.

    We encourage you to see these differences for yourself and call today to speak with one of our partners or schedule a free consultation at our office.

    During traditional business hours, please call us at: (586) 954-9500

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