woman with pet dog in lap

In an uncontested divorce, you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse agree on everything from what to do with your house to how to divvy up your assets. Sure, you’ve reached compromises on certain subjects, but you agree that a divorce is both necessary and beneficial for both of you. But there’s one thing that many divorcing couples struggle to agree on: who gets the pets. As responsible pet parents, you want to do what’s best for your furry family members and while your New Jersey divorce lawyer can help you come to an agreement, there are a few things you’ll want to consider as you make your decision.

Think About Who Has More Time

Animals require a significant time investment. They need interaction, cuddling, exercise, and medical care at a minimum. These activities can take hours out of your week and, depending on your current lifestyle, you may not always be the best equipped to handle that time commitment. As you and your spouse start discussing options, consider which of you has the time to invest in your animals’ care. 

Be Mindful of Your Living Situation

Before you decide who gets the pets, consider what your living situation will be. If you and your spouse are both going to be living on your own in similar home types, either of you will likely be able to care for your animals appropriately. But if you’re moving in with roommates who don’t like animals or are moving into an apartment when your dogs need a yard, your pets may be better off with your spouse. Think about how your living situation will impact the well-being of your animals as you make your decision.

Consider Your Animals’ Preferences

Some very lucky couples have animals that love each of them equally. But it’s not always the case. Think about who your animals are closest to when you’re trying to establish custody of your pets. If your pet is closer to your spouse, they may prefer to live with them. If your pet doesn’t like your spouse and just won’t listen to your spouse when they issue commands, your pet may be better off with you. Ultimately, you’ll want to prioritize their happiness over your attachment or any sense of vindictiveness you may harbor toward your spouse.

Be Open to Split Custody

Some couples choose to treat their animals like their children and factor this relationship into their custody decisions. Instead of the pets living with one person, they split custody according to the terms they agree on. If you and your spouse are in a position where you can get along well enough to continue seeing each other on a regular basis, splitting custody can be a good option. 

Your Pets Are Family

Your pets deserve the best their best interests should always be taken into consideration when you and your spouse are negotiating custody. If you’re struggling to reach an agreement or are just now ready to file for an uncontested divorce, reach out to the team at Carvajal Law. Our experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers can help whether you’re filing a contested or an uncontested divorce.

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