Pet Custody

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.



Who Gets the Dog in a Divorce in New York?

Divorce In New YorkEveryone is familiar with child custody but what happens to the family dog in a divorce?

In the past when couples got divorced, pets were viewed as property, but now with the increased rate of divorce and pets to deal with, pets have to be dealt with in terms of pet custody not asset division.

Below are some factors that the court will take into consideration when it comes to pet custody:

  • Who takes care of the dog’s daily necessities such as food, shelter, walks, exercise, grooming and supervision?
  • Who takes the pet to the veterinarian?
  • Who is responsible for the social interaction with the dog with other dogs, people and dog training?
  • Who is in a better financial position to support the pet?

Just as it is best to put the child’s interest first in a custody battle, it is also best to put the dog’s interest first in a pet custody battle.  

If one came into the relationship with the dog, then it makes more sense for that person to be given custody of the dog, unless, there are other circumstances that would be in the best interest of the dog.

If you and your spouse decide to share custody of your dog, make sure that you are not constantly disrupting the comfort of the dog by transporting him/her weekly; opt for a monthly arrangement to make it easier for your dog to adjust in a new home environment. 

It is also important to determine who will be responsible for pet related expenses such as food, clothing, visit to the vet, etc. The more pet parenting decisions that can be made in advance, the easier it will be when it comes time to determine who gets custody of the dog.

For assistance with working out a pet custody arrangement for your dog, contact the Sabra Law Group for more information on divorce mediation at (646) 472-7971.