Listen to Steven May explain how it's possible to co-parent a pet after divorce while not treating the animal as if it's a piece of property.
As a pet owner, have you ever shared a particularly troubling story with a friend about your pet only to hear in response, “But it’s just a dog! (or cat, bird, horse, hamster, pig, etc.)
Odds are your friend is not a pet owner.
No doubt about it, pet owners love their animals. They bring us joy, relaxation and companionship. They can help motivate, sometimes frustrate, and teach us to put the well-being of something else ahead of our own. Come to think about it, it sounds a lot like what we look for in a spouse. But, I’d venture to say that the relationships with our pets are much more successful than the relationships many of us have had with our spouses if, of course, the statistic that over 50 percent of marriages end in divorce is correct. (It is.)
So, when a marriage goes south, and the subject of the big “D” comes up, many of us turn our thoughts to the children, if there are any, and then to personal property and other financial considerations. Too often, the arrangement for the pet is an afterthought. And anyone who has a pet knows that a radical change in a pet’s living situation can create stress, trauma and an assortment of behavior issues.
But that’s changing. Many divorcing couples today are recognizing the importance their pets play in their lives and are taking the necessary steps to ensure their happiness and well-being. Even the courts are starting to get involved and creating pet custody plans that mirror those for children of divorce. And as it is with children, co-parenting is often the best course of action. Not only does the pet benefit by still having both of its “parents” in its life, but couples benefit too by coming together over the shared love of their pet.
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