Man’s best friend can clearly add value to the lives of a married couple’s lives, so understandably, the couple may be at odds about who gets to keep the dog following a divorce. In family court, dogs are treated as assets during the property division process in Pennsylvania. However, the spouses can decide how they want to handle the ownership of such an asset, in a manner that satisfies both sides.
For instance, perhaps both spouses are attached to Rufus. They can come up with their own joint custody agreement involving the dog during their divorce proceeding. With this agreement, they can essentially send the pet back and forth between them so that it spends time with both parties in their homes. If the exes are not on speaking terms, they can even drop the dog off at the other party’s house when the other party is not home or make other suitable arrangements.
Another possible scenario is where one spouse gets to keep the dog for a third of the month, whereas the other one keeps it for the remainder of the month. During these time periods, the spouses are typically responsible for the dog’s care and expenses. Yet another option is for one party to keep the dog and the other party to pay visits to the dog occasionally, according to an agreed-upon schedule.
If the two parties can find common ground on how they want to handle their pet during divorce, they can avoid further court intrusion. However, this is not always possible. In these situations, a judge will make the final property division decision. Either way, an attorney in Pennsylvania can provide the guidance necessary to ensure that the client’s wishes and best interests are upheld at all stages of the proceedings.
Source: moneyish.com, “You won’t believe how people battle over their dogs in a divorce“, Alisa Wolfson, Feb. 24, 2018