My name is Danielle Diaz. One of the things I've learned in life, both inside and outside the courtroom, is that it is important to not see others as your enemy. Even though you may see the prosecutor as your enemy, he or she is just trying to do a job. It may be possible that you can get a prosecutor or the judge to be sympathetic and get him or her on your side. In order to accomplish this, you need to understand the law. I feel that most individuals do not understand the law, which is why I was motivated to create this blog.
Divorce is hard on humans, and it can be extremely confusing for pets. People come and go, homes change, and there's really no way to tell the pet what is going to happen in the future -- you have to hope the pets adjusts. It doesn't help that for the most part, pets are still considered property; legally they have the same rights as your dishes or furniture, leading to often unsatisfactory rulings in court. It is better if you and your ex-spouse can figure out where the pet should go. Ask yourselves these questions to get a better sense of how to treat the pet.
Who Had the Pet First?
Usually, if one of you came into the marriage with the pet, that pet should go with that person. Exceptions include the person moving into a situation where they might not be able to care for the pet. But if the pet arrived when you and your ex-spouse were married, look at how the pet reacts to each of you. It's better for the pet to live with the person it's more attached to, and it is possible to work out pet visitation or joint custody arrangements, though these are unofficial compared to child custody arrangements.
If you have more than one pet, be aware of whether the pets are bonded. Bonded pairs of animals should not be separated, and that could mean that both pets should spend most of their time with a specific spouse who can better take care of two animals.
Ability to Care for Pet
The ability to care for the pet is crucial. If a spouse is going to have an unpredictable income that could often dip into financial-distress territory, even after alimony, that's not going to be good for the pet. Also, if one spouse will be traveling a lot and will be placing the pet in a kennel for much of the time, it may be better for the pet to just live with the other spouse.
Children, Housemates, and More
Who will the spouse taking the pet be around after the divorce? Some pets don't do well with children, for example, so a spouse leaving to live with someone who has kids may not want to take that pet (there's too much of a risk that the pet will not adjust well and possibly bite someone). Maybe the spouse is moving to an area where apartments typically don't allow pets, and that raises the risk that the spouse will give up the pet.
If you and your ex-spouse are not seeing eye to eye about who should get the pet, contact a lawyer. There are arrangements that can be worked out, and a third party can suggest additional solutions that you two might not have thought of.