Divorces can be hard on everyone involved, including the pets. Over the years, your domesticated animal has become more than just a pet, but instead part of the family. You can’t split up the family dog. Thus, when a couple gets divorced, your canine friend has to go with one spouse versus the other. There are trends as to how courts generally deal with such matters.

Issues over who will pay for the dog’s care and custody and who the dog prefers to live with are circumstances that you and your ex will need to hash out. Many times pets will end up being rehomed or even end up in shelters after a divorce because the couple believes that decision may be in the best interest of the animal.

Pets thrive on routines, though. Being placed in a new home or shelter may not be in their best interest. Since dogs are creatures of habit, traveling back and forth between you and your ex’s homes may disrupt their schedule. Your dog may become anxious from the stress of its changing circumstances and begin to misbehave.

Most jurisdictions’ laws treat dogs as marital property. Judges generally aren’t swayed by who the dog likes the best or who takes care of them most. The court instead focuses on who adopted the dog and who has been primarily responsible for paying for things like vet bills.

Pet custody hearings have increased by more than 20% over the last few years.

If you are getting a divorce and have a pet, then it’s essential to understand what your rights are and how Ohio law works regarding awarding pet custody. Leaving the decision up to a court where your pet goes may end up being contrary to your wishes. It may be helpful to have an experienced attorney try to work out an amicable resolution between you and your former spouse in Columbus to avoid any unintended consequences.