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Sharing Custody of a Pet — How Does It Work?

DiPietro Law Group, PLLC

You're not willing to part with your pet after divorce — and neither is your spouse. Forget courtroom battles; shared custody may be an ideal solution. This concept mimics child-based custody in many ways, but can be complicated in execution. Read on to learn more about the logistics of sharing custody of your pet.

When Is Shared Custody a Wise Approach?

Shared custody doesn't work for all spouses and their pets. Some pets don't adjust well to moving every week or month. In other cases, logistics (such as living thousands of miles apart) may make shared custody virtually impossible. This approach means regular contact with an ex — a concession many divorcees are unwilling to make.

Shared custody works best when spouses enjoy an amicable relationship, live near one another, and are equally committed to the wellbeing of their pets. It's a great option for parents with kids who refuse to bid their pet adieu when transitioning from one home to the next.

Approaches to Shared Custody

Each couple approaches custody division differently. Many rotate: one week with the pet, the other without. Those with two animal companions may spend one week with the first pet, and the next week with the other. Spouses seeking to minimize contact with one another may opt for alternating months.

In very rare cases, ex-spouses transition custody on a daily basis. For example: if one spouse works a night shift, they may spend the day with Fido before delivering him to their ex. The ex then spends the night and early morning with the dog. This solution only works if former spouses live in the same neighborhood — and if they can communicate effectively.

Paying for the Pet

When one spouse takes custody of formerly shared pets, the other may be asked to provide financial support — often with regular payments echoing child support. With shared custody, however, both spouses are equally responsible for the pet's financial details. Many pet co-owners use expense accounts that mimic top co-parenting apps. Others split costs by category; perhaps one spouse is responsible for buying food, while the other handles annual veterinary checkups.

Struggling to determine the best approach for pet custody in Georgia? Our team at DiPietro Law Group, PLLC can help. We understand the trauma of saying goodbye to a beloved pet. Reach out today to learn more about your options.

We can be reached at (888) 530-4374, or you can contact our Atlanta divorce lawyers online here.

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