If there is one completely impartial entity who offers unconditional love in your home, it’s the family pet. They are a central part of your daily life. But when divorce hits, the question becomes: Who gets to keep the pet? The answer might not be what you expect, and can feel like one more hurdle to overcome in a Michigan divorce.
How Pets Figure in a Michigan Divorce
At a time when you can use as much genuine comfort as you can get, losing your pet to your ex-partner can be devastating. How do you make sure you are the one to walk away with full ownership of Fido or Fluffy? Start by knowing precisely how pets fit into a Michigan divorce:
- Pets are considered property in a divorce. Your dog or cat might be family to you, but to a divorce court they’re considered property and treated as such. Michigan is an equitable distribution state, so both assets and debts of a marriage are divided in a way that is equitable to both parties – and that includes pets.
- It doesn’t matter who cared for your pet. You tend to your pet in all ways while your partner has never pulled their weight. This doesn’t automatically mean you will go home with your favorite creature. Sound unfair? Even if you did the bulk of childrearing, your ex is entitled to time with the kids.
- Children do not deliver an automatic win. Just because your kids love your pet as much as you do, that doesn’t mean the animal will end up in the household of the parent with primary joint custody. It helps, but without pushing your point and getting a judge on your side, don’t assume anything when it comes to ownership or assets during a divorce battle.
How to Prove You Deserve Pet Custody
Both you and your ex have one thing in common, presumably – you love your pet. To keep that beautiful creature in your home, it’s necessary to effectively show why your pet is separate, non-marital property and belongs with you and you alone. Here are some of the facts you and your Michigan divorce lawyer can highlight as they apply to your unique case:
- Establish you were given the pet as a gift during the marriage.
- Show you obtained the pet before you were married.
- Demonstrate that you spend the most time with the pet.
- Show that you provide the bulk of the care for the pet.
- Demonstrate that you are the party who is financially able to provide for the pet.
- Explain that the children are emotionally attached to the pet.
Your Best Chance to Keep Your Pet
Judges are busy, and your pet is not their priority, especially when there are complex and heated child custody or child support matters to manage. Judges will look favorably on a couple who manages to come to court with a pet custody plan already formed, including financial responsibilities where pets are concerned.
Don’t lose your pet during such an emotional time. Get support from an experienced Michigan divorce attorney. Schedule a consultation with Femminineo Attorneys in Macomb to discuss your situation.