A Parenting Plan… For My Dog?

We know that when a court is deciding what would be the best residential schedule for your kids, it is going to ask: what is in the best interests of the child? One would assume, this would be the standard a court might look at when a divorcing couple has a pet.

Unfortunately, it’s not. In the State of Washington, pets are considered property and the same analysis that goes into dividing up a couple’s assets/debts is used when deciding who’s gonna get Whiskers.

If Whiskers was a cute little kitten you adopted way back when you were just a single gal living on Capitol Hill, then Whiskers remains your separate property. If you and your spouse drove all the way up to Mount Vernon to get that purebred Golden Retriever you both love, it’s community property and where Bandit is going to reside becomes a bit more complicated.

Pet custody is fairly new territory for the courts, and not all judges/commissioners may understand your deep attachment to your pet. However, often a court will look to see who has been taking care of the pet or perhaps who is closer to the pet.

Shared custody schedules are a possibility, however, if you and your spouse can agree. You can work together or with your attorneys to come up with a residential schedule for your pet that makes everyone happy and receiving those slobbery kisses you can’t live without.