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A divorce forces couples to make tough decisions, including deciding who will get the dog. Dogs are often a big part of the family, so it’s tough figuring out what to do with them after a divorce. If you and your spouse are having difficulty deciding who will get Fido, consider sharing custody. Here are some pointers on sharing your beloved dog:

Determine Who Is the Rightful Owner

The first thing the two of you have to do is figure out who is the dog’s legal owner. The person who registers the dog with city is usually considered the rightful owner. If the ownership of the dog ever comes into question in court, you should have the appropriate documents.

Decide on a Custody Arrangement

Just like you would with your children, it’s important to decide on a concrete custody arrangement for your dog and stick to it. For example, you could try rotating every other week.

Share Expenses

Taking care of a dog can get expensive. From food and toys to medical care and boarding, you can easily spend thousands of dollars a year on your pooch. That is why it is essential for you and your ex to split the costs down the middle.

Consider Travel Arrangements

It is unlikely that you and your ex will be living on the same block after your divorce, so the two of you will have to decide how you will transport your dog from home to home. If you two live several states apart, you may want to contact companies that specialize in pet transport. That way, you know that your pooch will get to you safely.

Be Consistent With Your Dog’s Diet

To keep your dog healthy and happy, it is crucial to be consistent with your dog’s diet. If you, for example, cook all of your dog’s meals and your ex just feeds him plain kibble, your dog might not be so keen on eating that kibble at your ex’s house. You and your ex should pick the same brand of dog food for each household and agree to only feed your dog that food.

Discuss How to Handle Extreme Medical Care

While it would be nice if our dogs only required a yearly wellness exam and vaccinations, things don’t always work out that way. Like people, dogs can develop serious illnesses that require extensive medical care. It’s important for you and your ex to discuss how far you will go with treatment if your pooch gets extremely ill. Try to have this conversation as early on as possible.

Co-parenting a dog with your ex isn’t always easy, but it can be done. If you and your ex take good care of your dog and make all the decisions together, your pooch will be well off.

If you have any other questions about your divorce, do not hesitate to schedule a meeting with a reputable lawyer to discuss the Arizona divorce process.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hildebrand Law for their insight into divorce.