Preparing for Your Pet’s Involvement In Your Divorce

man and his dog

Divorce can bring lots of instability to your family and you may often worry about child custody and the welfare of your family. But when you have pets, they can complicate the mix when working to preserve your family. Our Colorado Springs divorce attorneys at Knies, Helland & McPherson share how to prepare for the involvement of your pets in your divorce.

Prior to the Division of Property

Your pet is technically considered property in Colorado and may be included in your division of property depending on when the pet was brought into your family. Unfortunately, this means that there will be no shared ownership or “custody” agreements for your pet, so one spouse will leave the marriage with sole ownership. With this understanding, you can begin the process of preparing for your pet to be included in the division of property.

Compile Relevant Documents

With this knowledge, you should prepare all relevant documentation about your pet. You may need to provide your adoption papers or correspondence regarding adoption if you do not have papers. You may also need to share documentation regarding veterinary care for the pet to display when the pet was first adopted into your family. These documents will ultimately be used to help the courts determine whether the pet will be considered separate or marital property.

Determine Ownership

If you owned the pet solely prior to your marriage, then your documentation should support that and you would have sole ownership of the pet following your divorce. However, if you adopted the pet during your marriage or you adopted your pet with your spouse jointly, then your pet will be included in the division of property.

The courts will include your pet when separating and evaluating marital property from separate property. Their determination will be based on the documentation provided by you and your spouse regarding the pet.

Consider the Welfare of the Pet

If your pet is considered marital property, then you will ultimately need to decide if you will fight for your pet during property negotiations. When making this decision, consider the welfare of your pet. When making this consideration, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will you or your soon-to-be former spouse be a better pet parent?
  • Does the pet respond better to one of you?
  • Does one party physically care for the pet more?
  • Will both parties be able to financially care for the pet and any of its medical needs?
  • Does one party have a better home environment for the pet?
  • Is one party better trained on necessary medical care for the pet?

After thinking through all of these questions, you may decide if the pet is better off in your hands or in your spouse’s. If you believe that you will be best suited to care for your pet, then you may need to fight for your pet during the division of marital property.

Share Your Desires With Your Legal Team

After making your decision on if you would like to pursue sole ownership of your pet, you should share that decision with your attorneys so they can plan accordingly. With this decision in mind, they can help you negotiate property division terms.

During the Division of Property

While your marital property is divided, you may be worried about your pet and its future. Trust the process and your attorney’s efforts, as they will work with the opposing counsel to create an agreement that is beneficial to both parties.

Being a pet parent can be stressful, but being proactive and sharing all relevant information can help you reach sole ownership of your pet following your divorce.

Colorado Springs Divorce Lawyers

Our divorce lawyers at Knies, Helland & McPherson know firsthand what it’s like to have a special bond with a beloved pet. We’re focused on your success in your divorce, whether that be retaining ownership of your pets, joint custody of your children, or any other focus. We will work as a team to forge a path to your best interests and the resolution of your marriage.

Are you unsure of what will happen to your pets? Call our divorce attorneys at (719) 626-8530 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our KHM team.

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