Pets and Divorce

Pets and DivorceWhen it comes to divorce, child custody is an obvious issue – one that often requires mediation or even a court decision. But what about pets? When two people divorce, there’s often a lot of emotion around the matter of who will gain custody of the pets. And if you’re considering divorce (or currently in the trenches), you’re likely wondering what’s going to happen to Fido – and what you can do to get your desired outcome.

As differently as you might feel about it, pets are considered property by Nevada law. That means that your dog or cat (or aquarium full of goldfish) will need to be treated as property through your divorce. This can affect your case in that it requires you to be diligent about the legal process if you’re hoping to keep Fluffy at home.

Paperwork for Pets and Divorce

When it comes to your pets, paperwork matters. If your pet is registered with the AKC, find the documents and note who is listed as the owner of the pet. If you are, it may be easier to win “custody” of the pet. You’ll also want to contact your vets to make sure you’re listed as an owner in their database. Do the same with microchips, tags and other identification devices.


Pets and Divorce is tough, but the best situation may be a shared custody plan between you and your former spouse. If you’ll be living close to each other, it may be easier to establish a custody schedule. If you can make an agreement beforehand, this part of your divorce will be that much easier.

Think Financially

Making a shared arrangement with your former spouse isn’t just about schedules. You’ll also need to think about the financial requirements to caring for your pet. Who will cover veterinary visits? What about teeth cleanings? What happens if one spouse is providing more care than the other? Working out the details about your pets and divorce now can save you a lot of headache later on.

Divorce is tough – and pet custody can be an emotional topic. Talk to your divorce attorney about your pets; after all, they’re affected by your change of relationships status too!