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Who Gets Custody of the Pets in a Divorce?

There are many issues that must be addressed in a divorce, such as property division, alimony, as well as child custody and support. However, there are many cases where the custody of pets is involved.

Understand New Hampshire Law

In New Hampshire, along with almost all states, pets are considered property. They do not have special status according to the law and are not viewed in the same manner as children. However, there are more and more cases where judges do allow special considerations about the pet and make decisions that involve "pet visitation."

When a court determines the custody of a pet, the judge will consider the following factors:

  1. Who cares (i.e. feeds, walks, grooms, takes to the vet) for the pet
  2. Veterinarian testimony that determines who brought the pet into the vet most often
  3. Information regarding the pet's standard of care and living conditions
  4. Where each party will live after the divorce and who will provide the best environment for the pet
  5. If children are involved, where will they live and if they have an emotional attachment to the pet

Pet Parenting Plan and Financing

Since it is difficult to understand how the court will treat your pet custody dispute, you must work together with your spouse to develop a shared parenting arrangement. Think of a plan that can work out of the both of you, allowing everyone to continue having a relationship with the pet.

When it comes to costs associated with the animal, including food, grooming, vet bills, and even training classes can be quite expensive. If you decide to share time with the pet, you must also determine who expenses are shared as well. If you have a 30/60 time split, a 30/60 split for costs makes the most sense.

For more information, request a free consultation with our Manchester divorce attorney at Sekella Law, PLLC today.

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