Nothing will tear a settlement agreement down faster than someone attempting to take the family pet. It’s the epitome of every country song. They don’t call pups a man’s best friend for funsies. Also, just in case you’re wondering, diamonds aren’t a girls best friend, a cold nose and furry being is. That being said, similar to custody situations, these huge nuclear disagreements can be diffused by coming to a meeting of the minds by getting together to create an agreement where both of you can get quality time with your furbaby. This may seem like a laughing matter to people who are fighting over children, but any true dog person (or cat person) acknowledges how important their furbaby truly is.
I, personally, couldn’t imagine living without the company of both of my dogs. My boyfriend raised Lacy and I raised Emma, but Lacy is a momma’s girl, and Emma is a daddy’s girl. Also, Emma has other dog issues and the only dog that I feel safe with her around would be Lacy. They are sisters true and true. That being said, I’d be devastated if I didn’t have both my babies curled up next to me on the couch while I watch Scandal, so I truly understand treating your animal like your child. I tell my boyfriend that we’ll need a prenup just to handle the “dog situation” if anything were to happen. Here’s a few things you should consider if you decide to get a divorce and both of you are wanting to end up in the dog house:
- Who will cover veterinarian expenses/medical expenses? Dogs and Cats are expensive. Especially when you have one who is a little anxious with sibling rivalry issues. (Yes, Emma, I’m referring to you and your tooth being in Lacy’s leg). Pet insurance is basically a luxury for any middle class family. If you’re splitting your dog’s time you should be splitting the costs of the pups. If you have more than one dog, consider each taking one dog’s expenses.
- What will your schedule look like? Will you exchange the dogs every other week? Will it be every day? Consider your work and vacation schedules. If you want the dog to be home every night you get home from work, will your ex spouse pick her up or drop her off before you get home? Think about whether or not you want your ex to be able to come and go in the home as they see fit. You’ll need a schedule that keeps you from conflict, keeps your pet in a comfortable position (i.e. not tinkling themselves waiting for you to get home from a 12 hour work day).
- Will your new home have a pet friendly environment? You have to look at what type of living environment your ex spouse will have. If they are planning on moving into an apartment without a backyard, you may want to consider picking up the pup daily in order to ensure they get their backyard adventure time each day. Further, just like with children, the last thing you want is for your baby to end up in some unsafe environment like easy access to an interstate or big road.
- Will your older pet be around new pets? If your ex is now living with someone else (say the new plastic Barbie girlfriend really loves her little Fifi ankle biter) you’ll need to know what other animals your furbaby will be around. Would you want to risk your furbaby by putting them in danger of a dog that was trained to fight, or, on the other hand, what if your dog would mistake Fifi for a squirrel?
- Who will exercise the dog? Your dog is happiest when they are expelling their excess energy. If one person will run with them each afternoon, why don’t you allow that time to be their time together? Again, just like with children, if your dog can benefit from quality time with your ex, then allow that to happen for the better of the pup.
- Who will cover grooming expenses? Some dogs need more than a bath and brush. Some dogs needs the whole grooming shebang. That can get expensive fast, especially if you want to keep that Mohawk up high and coordinated to whatever the next holiday may be, you’ll need to determine quickly who will dish out the cash to keep your pup looking fly.