dog parent the benefits of pet insurance in divorce

Dog Parent? The Benefits of Pet Insurance in Divorce

People cherish their pets, considering them an integral part of the family. Consequently, when divorce is on the horizon, emotions run high about who will get custody of the beloved family dog, cat, or other pets. Decisions surrounding pet custody are crucial during the divorce process. In this article, we will delve into some fundamental questions about pet custody during divorce proceedings, explore options for sharing custody, and highlight the benefits of having pet insurance to ease the financial burden associated with pet ownership post-divorce.

Who Gets the Dog (or Other Pet) in Divorce?

Divorcing spouses often find it challenging to agree on critical issues such as pet custody. In such cases, a judge may have to intervene and decide who gets custody of the pet. Legally, pets are viewed as property, unlike children, which means the court is likely to award the pet to one party or the other, without recommending joint custody. However, if both parties desire shared custody, they will have to reach an agreement outside of court. Mediation can be an excellent option to facilitate this process and resolve disputes amicably.

Prior Ownership of the Pet

Ownership of the pet before marriage can influence the court’s decision regarding pet custody. If one spouse owned the pet prior to the marriage, the judge may consider it logical for the pet to remain with that individual after the divorce. However, this is not guaranteed, as the judge may also classify the pet as marital property to be awarded to either spouse.

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The Best Interest of the Kids

When children are involved in the divorce, the court may opt to place the pet in the home where the kids spend most of their time. This decision is often based on the children’s emotional attachment to the pet and the belief that it is in their best interest to stay close to their beloved companion.

The Best Interest of the Pet

In certain jurisdictions, the pet’s best interest is a valid concern in determining pet custody. Factors such as the living conditions and history of care for each party may be evaluated. For example, a home with a fenced yard might be considered more suitable for the pet than an apartment with a balcony. Additionally, if one spouse has a history of cruelty towards the pet, the judge may award custody to the other party.

Prior Paperwork (Including Pet Insurance)

Documentation, such as adoption records, veterinary papers, and pet insurance forms, can play a role in determining pet custody. If one spouse’s name appears on such paperwork, it may strengthen their claim to custody. Therefore, it is essential to gather and present any relevant paperwork to the court during the custody battle.

How Can You Share Custody of a Pet After Divorce?

Divorcing couples may opt for shared custody of their pet, just like co-parenting. Establishing a timeshare calendar can help ensure clarity about the pet’s living arrangements. Couples can decide on a schedule that suits their circumstances, whether it’s a 50/50 timeshare or another arrangement. Important issues such as diet, custody exchanges, and holiday schedules should also be discussed and agreed upon.

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Additionally, opening a joint savings account dedicated to the pet’s care can make shared custody more manageable. One of the parties may be designated as the primary caregiver, responsible for critical decisions and day-to-day care.

What Are the Benefits of Pet Insurance?

Pet insurance offers substantial benefits to pet owners, regardless of their marital status. Regular veterinary care can be costly, and having an emergency fund for unexpected pet health issues is essential. Pet insurance typically covers emergency care, X-rays, lab tests, prescription medications, and illnesses like cancer. However, it generally does not cover routine maintenance costs, grooming, or pre-existing conditions.

Pet Insurance in Divorce

Pet insurance can be significant in a custody battle. If one spouse’s name is on the pet insurance paperwork, they may have a stronger claim to custody. Additionally, shared custody can be financially straining. Pet insurance can alleviate some of the financial burdens if a pet emergency arises, ensuring the pet’s well-being is not compromised.


Pet custody during divorce is a complex and emotionally charged matter. Understanding the legal aspects and considering the pet’s best interest are crucial for reaching a satisfactory resolution. Whether you opt for sole custody or shared custody, pet insurance can be a valuable asset, providing financial security and peace of mind. Remember to update your pet insurance company with any changes in your circumstances to avoid coverage lapses.


1. Can I request joint custody of our pet in court?

While courts may not typically recommend joint custody for pets, divorcing couples can voluntarily agree to share custody outside of court through mediation or other means.

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2. If I had the pet before marriage, will I automatically get custody?

Owning the pet before marriage may work in your favor during the custody determination, but it is not a guarantee. The court will consider various factors before making a decision.

3. Can pet insurance affect the court’s decision on custody?

Yes, if one spouse’s name appears on the pet insurance paperwork, it could influence the court’s decision on pet custody.

4. How can I manage shared custody costs with pet insurance?

Pet insurance can help ease the financial burden of shared custody by covering emergency expenses for your pet.

5. What should I do if my pet’s insurance coverage lapses during divorce proceedings?

Make sure to keep your pet insurance company updated on any changes in your circumstances to avoid coverage lapses during the divorce process.

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