Pet issues may be included in property division agreements

Property division issues can get complicated for any family going through a divorce. While child custody issues have their own unique place in family court, the decision as to where a beloved family pet may end up is considered part of the property division process. Missouri courts and courts all over the country have seen a rise in cases where the fate of the family pet, typically a dog, must be decided as part of a divorce.

One common way of deciding who basically gets the dog follows whatever the plan may be in place for any children involved. The family pet can simply go with the children. As simple as that may sound, it may not always be a feasible solution, particularly if there are no children involved. In some cases, it will be decided who brought the pet into the marriage, and a decision will be based off of that.

If the pet was bought by both parties, the court may have to weigh each person’s role in the care of the pet. This can include who does most of the caretaking. This can include veterinary appointments and the actual work of caring for the pet.

When a pet is part of a property division process, Missouri couples may need to weigh not only how much each party may want the pet but, ultimately, what the responsibility will entail. The cost of dog day care, dog walkers and other expenses need to be considered when property division and support matters are being negotiated. It can be best to provide a detailed list of costs and factor that into a property division agreement if possible.

Source:, Who gets the dog in a divorce?”, Oct. 25, 2015

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