Who Gets the Dog? Oklahoma Divorce & Pet Ownership

Separating couples need to make many complicated decisions during the divorce process. It’s not uncommon for conflict to arise from the distribution of assets and property. But what happens when a pet is involved? To many, pets are family members and long-time companions. Divorce negotiations can quickly turn ugly when ownership of the family dog is on the line. Unfortunately, the court doesn’t offer joint custody laws when it comes to pet ownership.

Settling Out of Court

It may benefit you to settle this dispute out of court. Divorce, ultimately, is about compromise. It may help you to think of your pet as a child, and consider which living conditions serve your pet’s best interests. If you really want the family pet, you can try offering other incentives in a trade.

Important questions to consider:

  • Who is the pet’s primary caretaker?

  • Which home is best for the pet?

  • Who can financially afford the pet?

  • Is the pet attached to a specific family member?

If you can’t come to an agreement with your ex, your lawyer may be able to help you settle the dispute by drafting a custody schedule for your pet.

Settling the Dispute in Court

Your pet is treated as personal property under Oklahoma law. The court typically awards ownership to the spouse who owned the pet prior to the marriage. It becomes more complicated if the pet was purchased during the marriage. In some cases, the court may award ownership to the custodial parent if it benefits a child.

The court determines legal ownership based on the following criteria:

  1. Who purchased the pet?

  2. When did the purchase take place?

  3. Which lifestyle best benefits the pet?

Discover a Solution Today

Contact the Mazaheri Law Firm if you require legal guidance and representation. Our Oklahoma City divorce lawyers are experienced mediators and can help you negotiate during the divorce process.

Call our Oklahoma City divorce attorneys at (405) 645-6022to schedule a consultation.