People who know me well know how much I love animals, dogs in particular. So if you asked me who should get the dog in a divorce, I would likely have a different opinion than the Judges in Probate Court. Custody of the dog would be high on my priority list right after the children. On some days my dog comes before my children especially those in their teenage years.. My dog doesn’t talk back, he adores me and he’s always up for a cuddle!
But I digress.
All kidding aside, the Courts consider the family pet to be property. And while the Judges are required to look out for the “best interests” of the children, they are not required to look out for the best interests of the pets.
Generally, when you look to ownership, you look at who is on the vet bills, who registers the dog for their license, who typically feeds, walks and takes care of the dog. The Courts will sometimes order that the pet goes with the parent who has the majority of parenting time. Often, the lawyers will negotiate between their clients because if this is something that has to go before a Judge, their clients might not be too happy about how a Judge will handle it. Best to come to an agreement that works for everyone especially your beloved pet!