You love your pet. You treat them like family, and they certainly have a special place in your heart. So, it is only natural for you to become worried and even protective of your animal friend if you and your spouse decide to divorce.
We have discussed the impacts on pet ownership during a divorce in past blog posts through the years. However, have the guidelines changed at all?
Pets still fall under property division – not custody
The answer to the question above is no. There are still no laws or bills in North Carolina that aim to establish some form of pet custody. Only a handful of other states have passed such laws.
With no prospective bills on the horizon to establish pet custody, pet owners who file for divorce can face certain challenges here in North Carolina. Of course, they can manage pet ownership in property division if they choose, and determine which spouse will keep the pet.
But what can pet owners do if they want to divide time?
Just because you cannot argue pet custody in court does not mean you cannot establish such an arrangement at all. If you and your spouse can agree on a custody schedule of your own, then you can very well implement it.
In these cases, it is helpful to consider mediation to resolve your divorce. By keeping matters out of court, you can craft a legal agreement that can divide time with the pet between you and your ex-spouse.
There are many benefits to mediation. These generally include:
- Keeping your personal matters private
- Saving money during the divorce process
- Possibly maintaining some civility
However, the option to establish a type of custody agreement for your pet is another benefit for pet owners. There are more details of your relationship and divorce to consider when determining if mediation is the best option for you. You must carefully evaluate your circumstances and goals as you approach divorce not just as a pet owner, but as an individual as well.