If you have more than one pet, think about each person taking one of them. Maybe your dog is more attached to you, and your cat is more attached to your partner. Or maybe your dogs aren't that bonded to each other. If separating your pets won't be too traumatizing for them, then splitting them up might be your best option.
Just like with children, many pet owners opt for this route. Setting up joint custody with your pets can get tricky, but it also allows both parties to remain in their pet's life. However, both owners must learn to keep their emotions for their former partner out of it and keep their pet's routine as normal as possible when agreeing to these terms. Also, remember that communication is key in this set up. Keeping your co-pet owner up to speed on any behavioral or physical changes will go a long way in keeping your agreement cordial, as well as keeping your pet's needs at the forefront.
If joint custody doesn't work out for whatever reason, you can also set up a visitation schedule of sorts. If one person retains full custody of the animal, the other can offer their services to take care of the pet when that person goes on vacation or is too busy at work to give enough attention.
Many people view their pets as their family, especially couples who don't have kids. So when it comes to breaking up, deciding who gets custody of the pets can get just as dicey as it does with human children. It's becoming more common for people to end up in court over this issue or to draw up legal documents, but before you go to all that trouble and spend all that money, try to work things out in a rational manner first.
Not every situation is right for every fractured couple. But by putting your pet's needs first you can work out a mutually beneficial arrangement that allows you to stay in your pet's life -- and out of the legal system
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