It is no secret that some relationships run their course sooner than those involved anticipate they will. In many such situations, people often worry about children and how the breakup may affect them; however, even when children are absent from the picture there might be others that may get overlooked: pets.

Dividing up furniture and other material possessions can become a hassle; but deciding on who might take custody of the pets can get a bit more complicated as there might be strong emotional attachments involved. But the well-being of the animal(s) must be the priority since they have no say in the process.

There are a few options when it comes to pet custody:

Split & Single-Person Custody

The ideal scenario is splitting the time of the pet among both parties, so that there isn’t a sudden hole in the relationship the pet has with its humans. For example, one person can have the pet for one week, and the other for the following week.

Depending on the reasons of the breakup, and other circumstances such as new living conditions which might not allow for pets, a single-person custody may be the only option. The person with the custody can always allow visitation rights if the bond between the pet and the other half of the couple is particularly strong.

Along with these types of details to worry about, there are some considerations that can help you make the most appropriate decision when it comes to pet custody.

  • It’s less of a shock for the pet if aside from the sudden change in the home life it does not have to deal with moving to a new place. If the person who will be keeping the same residence can maintain custody, it is better for the pet.
  • If the pet was owned by one person before the relationship started, it is highly recommended that the custody be kept with the same person, unless of course it developed a closer bond with the new co-owner.
  • The person who has the most appropriate living conditions and the abilities to take care of the pet is the person who should get custody of the pet.
  • If there are children involved with the relationship that are attached to the pet, then if possible the pet should remain with the person who will have custody of the children.
  • Split custody can be great for the pets, but only if the people involved in the now defunct relationship are able to put aside their differences for the good of the pet(s).