Did you know that in Michigan,”62 percent of all married couples own a pet together” [Source: Tri-County Times]? Because pets are regarded as property, even though you may think of yours as a child, they are included in the assets and property to be split upon divorcing from your spouse. But the truth is, Michigan Courts don’t exactly have laws to guide them on who gets custody of the pet. So, like most, you’re probably wondering then how the courts decide who Is entitled to having ownership over your family pet whom you adore and love so much.

Well, there are a few things a judge might take into consideration that will sway their decision in who they decide to give the pet to and some of those things include:

  • Who spends the most time with the pet?
  • Whether you have children who are attached to the pet.
  • Who is most responsible for taking care of the pet?
  • When the pet was acquired? If you owned the pet prior to your marriage, you may have a better chance at obtaining ownership of him or her.
  • Who is financially capable of caring for the pet? Pets cost a great deal of money and just like children, they need to be fed, bathed, and taken to the doctor every so often for a checkup or when they become ill.
  • Whether the pet was abused or mistreated while under the care of either party. If your spouse mistreated the dog or cat you are fighting for, be sure to inform your Michigan divorce attorney so they can submit this information to the judge.

It’s always a good idea to have your divorce lawyer present when discussing assets and property as these conversations can sometimes get a bit heated and often spark an argument. Having an attorney present who can mediate the conversation allows it to run smoother and you and your spouse to work toward an agreement rather than fighting.

Asset Division and Child Custody

Aside from pet custody, there are many other things that come up in a divorce that make the process stressful and more difficult to get through. Many couples often struggle most when it comes to dividing their time with their children along with the money they have acquired together as a married couple. While you might feel entitled to more money and more time with your kids, your spouse may share similar feelings. And if the two of you can’t seem to come to an agreement, the finalization of your divorce will only be harder to reach.

If you are thinking of filing for divorce and you live in Lansing or East Lansing or have initiated the process already, you are highly encouraged to contact Lansing, MI divorce attorney Stuart R. Shafer immediately. The Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. can provide you with the help you need along with the guidance that is necessary to get you through the divorce process. Contact us today by calling 517-487-6603 and get your consultation scheduled so we can further discuss what it is you are dealing with and the many ways we may assist you. We also provide our legal services to those residing in Okemos, DeWitt, St. Johns, Grand Ledge, and Charlotte.