You do not have any children, but you and your spouse have always thought of your dog as part of the family. The dog is not just a pet; it’s more like a child in its own right. 

Now you’re getting divorced, and you’ve realized how complicated it can get. You don’t want to stop seeing the dog. Can you get custody of your beloved pet in the wake of the divorce?

While people do tend to view their dogs as children, the truth is that they’re just property in the eyes of the law. They’re not considered part of your family, but something that you own. They’re an asset — and, depending on the breed, a potentially valuable one. As such, you cannot get custody of your dog in the traditional sense. 

Now, if you and your ex want to work together to set up a visitation schedule or share the dog by letting it live at both homes, that’s up to you. You can do whatever you want. If there is a disagreement and the court is forced to rule, though, they’re just going to add the dog into the rest of your assets when dividing property. If the dog cost $800, for instance, your ex may get the pet and you may get some other asset with a similar value. 

Legally speaking, that’s fair. In reality, you may feel like you absolutely lost what you wanted in the divorce. This can be very difficult to deal with and shows you why it’s so important to understand all of the legal options that you have. An experienced attorney can often help you strategize in a way that will help you achieve your goals.