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. 

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