Caring For Pets After A Divorce

Divorce can be a difficult time to go through not only for the people involved, but for pets, as well. Depending on which person gets custody of the pet, animals will have to learn to adapt to their new surroundings. Believe it or not, it can be a traumatic experience for an animal not being around both owners – the only life they've known. However, there are some things that can be done to make that transition into a new life much easier for your pet. 

Never Use Your Pet to Hurt the Other Person 

The first thing to keep in mind is that both you and your soon-to-be ex both care about the animal. To some people, pets are like children, and, like with children, there may be the urge to want to use them to hurt the other. Do not hurt the animal just to spite the other person. Animals are innocent and helpless creatures that will also be going through their own period of adjustment after having their home torn asunder, so don't take out your frustrations on them. 

Never Argue Around Pets 

It is never good to argue around pets. Arguing around pets only creates a negative response in a home. It can also cause stress in the animal and make the animal physically ill. Your pet may act out negatively in his or her own way, such as tearing up items or relieving themselves indoors.

Are You Able to Handle the Expenses? 

You should also consider the expenses involved in caring for your pet. If you are not able to financially afford to take care of your pet, maybe you should consider letting your soon to be ex-spouse have the animal. At least your pet can be in a comfortable surrounding and you can still work out a visitation schedule. 

Shared Custody of Pet 

In some divorce cases, people may decide on shared custody of the pet. If custody of the pet is shared, the two parties should agree on a set schedule for the animal for things such as when to walk the animal and when to feed the animal. If both pet parents want to share the responsibility, then both parents should be willing to follow the established schedule. As with children, there should not be the "fun" parent who lets you do whatever you want, and the "not-so-fun" parent who is extremely strict.

Consistency is especially important for pets who must be trained and require stability.It would also help if the animal had a similar home environment in both homes. For example, they should have: 

  • The same type of bed 
  • Mimicking toys to play 
  • The same food

Having the same items in both homes should make your animal feel more comfortable when going back and forth between homes. 

These are just a few tips to keep in mind for caring for pets after a divorce. Pets are family. Therefore, their feelings should be taken into consideration just as much as everyone else's when going through an experience like divorce. Talk to your divorce attorney for more info and for help with the custodial arrangements.