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Pet Visitation & Custody Arrangements

More than half of all marriages end in divorce, and, aside from child custody battles, few decisions can be tougher than determining the custody of the family pet. The process of deciding what happens “Wags” or “Pal” does not have to be heart-wrenching if you follow the following four tips to avoid tearing the family pet in half.

One: Don’t Leave the Decision up to the Court

As silly as it may sound, working out the visitation and custody arrangements for your pet is crucial. It’s actually very common, yet one area people don’t put a lot of thought into until problems arise later on. During divorce discussions, the details of all family members must be thoroughly discussed. This includes the detailssurrounding “Fido.” If you cannot come to an understanding regarding your pet, then using a neutral mediator to help you decide is the smartest thing to do. If not, you could end up in court with a judge deciding the fate of your furry loved one.

As wrong as it is, children are and pets are sometimes used as pawns to hurt each other in a heated divorce. It only takes one person to start the “game” and, also only one person to put a stop to it. By drawing up an agreement about your pet that gets included in your marital settlement agreement, your choices become legally binding and must be honored.

Three: What is in the Best Interest of your Pet

When it comes to pet custody cases, there is a lot of irrational emotion involved. Disagreeing couples need to do what’s best for the pet. Each person needs to ask pet-focused questions such as, “Where will the pet be the most happy?” or “Who has the time to play, walk, care for the pet.” By answering questions like these, the pet’s well-being will come through and a mutually acceptable solution will easier to reach.

Four: Pets Have Feelings Too

Just because your pets can’t talk or cry does not mean they don’t feel emotion. In fact, they are sensitive to the mood of the family living in the home. For instance, fighting in their presence will cause them to withdrawal and feel depressed. Remember, if you are feeling sad, your pet is also feeling upset. As a rule of thumb, give your pets as much comfort and affection as possible. This will comfort you as well.

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