How to Handle a Custody Battle Over Your Pet in New York

The new custody battle is one over pet custody; if it wasn’t hard enough determining custody or a custody arrangement for a child, now more and more pet owners are finding themselves in a predicament of a pet custody battle.


Although animals are considered property in the eyes of the law at this time, some courts are beginning to recognize that one's relationship with their pet, whether it is a cat, dog, or bird etc., is very different from that of furniture, jewelry, or a car. 


Some Useful Tips On Preparing for Your Custody Battle


  1. If you are the one that purchased the animal from a breeder or animal shelter, make sure you have documentation that shows proof that the animal was adopted by you.
  2. In the event that you are not the one that originally purchased or adopted the animal, there is still hope for your case. Always save all receipts for veterinary care, licensing records, receipts for grooming, dog or pet training classes, food, or any other necessities for the animal. 
  3. If you are the one that walks the dog on a daily basis and is the primary caretaker, it is best to have some witnesses that can validate this claim.
  4. Be fair: it is important to be considerate of your spouse’s attachment to the pet, even if they are not the one that originally adopted or purchased the pet. Consider sharing custody of your pet with your spouse instead of shutting them out of the pet’s life. It is also less stressful for your pet and helps alleviate any abandonment issues.


Consider Mediation for Your Pet Custody Battle


Just as one would seek the legal counsel of a skilled mediator in a divorce, a mediator can also help you with your pet custody battle so it doesn’t end up going to court.  Once it goes to court, it is difficult to come to an amicable arrangement with your spouse – again, since most courts consider animals to be property. 


In a recent mediation in our office, a couple reached a resolution that enabled one spouse to maintain custody of the pet dog, and arrangements were worked out so that the other spouse would have regular visits with the pet dog. 


Contact a New York Divorce Mediation Attorney Today


If you would like to mediate the custody of your pet so that you can keep your pet in New York City, consult an experienced mediation attorney today by contacting the Sabra Law Group today at (646) 472-7971.



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