How Will The Divorce Impact Your Dog?

Just about everyone would agree that the best interest and well-being of children is always a top priority in a messy divorce. Another significant member of the family – the dog – often gets overlooked and becomes a helpless victim. Unfortunately, divorces do have a negative impact on dogs as well.

Legally, Dogs Are Not Children

In a lot of families, it is common for the dog to be viewed as a child. This is especially true in families without children. No matter how much you and your spouse love your dog, legally they are not treated the same as a child. Unfortunately, this means a custody battles is not part of the traditional procedure. Legally, a dog is viewed as a piece of property instead of a member of the family.

Despite what is true legally, the family dog is very different from other pieces of marital property such as the car or the house. This is a living creature with thoughts and emotions. For this reason, it is important for you and your spouse to decide what should happen to the dog just as maturely as you would if the dog was your child.

Feelings Your Dog Goes Through

Your dog is going to experience a lot of feelings as a result of the divorce including confusion, anxiety, and sadness.

Confusion and Anxiety: Moving to a new home and being placed in a different living situation can be difficult for a dog to adjust to. Separation from you, your spouse, and any children can make the dog anxious.

Sadness: In a divorce, a dog loses much more than just one of his or her owners. If you have children or other pets, your dog also loses a companion. Your dog is not going to understand why things are changing. Your dog may feel lonely or depressed as a result.

Dogs thrive on routine and consistency because they are creatures of habit. For this reason, the chances that come with divorce impact them in a very negative way.

Consider a Pet Clause in Your Prenuptial Agreement

If you have a dog before you get married, consider signing a prenuptial agreement saying what would happen to the dog if the marriage were to end. This is a legally binding contract that would solve a lot of problems if your marriage ends in a nasty divorce.

If you acquire a family dog after getting married, you need to think about what is best for the dog versus what you or your spouse want. Are you going to have enough time to give the dog the attention and care that he or she needs? Will you be able to afford taking care of the dog? Does the dog favor you or your spouse when it comes to affection? Answering these questions honestly will make the decision easier. If you find you and your spouse are having difficulty with this decision, talk about possible solutions with your divorce attorney.