For more than 35 years, the Colorado attorneys at the The Law Offices of Rodger C. Daley and Associates have helped families navigate complex matters such as divorce and criminal defense. Our lawyers invest time, energy and resources in order to secure favorable outcomes for our clients. To schedule an appointment, call our office in Denver at 720-773-5708 or fill out the form below.

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Will custody of your pets turn into a messy divorce battle?

Your pets are an important part of your life, and a divorce does not mean you stop caring for these beloved family members. Your marriage may be over, but your role as a care provider for your pets is not. In some divorces, pet custody can become a complicated and costly point of contention. If you are preparing to move forward with a divorce, it is helpful to understand how you can retain access to your pets.

Keeping the family pet is a deeply personal and often emotional aspect of a divorce. While you may feel prepared to battle over this specific issue in court, it will help to remember that emotions rarely lead to practical decisions. Instead, consider how you and the other party may be able to discuss reasonable and mutually satisfactory pet custody terms out of court.

Property or family members?

In the eyes of the law, pets are technically property. This means Colorado property division laws technically apply, but it is likely not simple to share a pet. If both of you wish to retain access to the animal, there will be drop-off and pick-up procedures, shared vet expenses and other complicated factors to consider. The following may help you understand how you can protect both the best interests of your pets and your property rights:

  • A court battle over a pet can lead to additional legal expenses and cost you valuable time.
  • If you do not believe the other spouse will be able to care for the animal, you may have to present evidence in court of why it is best for you to have the pet instead.
  • You and the other spouse can create a pet custody agreement that will allow you to outline how you will share access in a way that is practical and sustainable.

When creating a pet custody and visitation plan, it will be helpful to be specific and clear on how it will work. There should be terms outlining transferring the animal, splitting vet costs, preferences for care, and more. In order to avoid an expensive legal battle, it may help to prepare for this issue now by determining how you can work toward a reasonable out-of-court agreement.


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