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Who gets the dog in divorce?

attorney, lawyer, divorce, columbus, ohio, lawyers, attorneys, divorce lawyer, divorce lawyers, divorce attorneysAs much as we love Fido, when it comes to divorce, under Ohio law, Fido is considered property, not a child.  Yet we still hear about “custody battles” over pets all the time.  Why?  Well, the answer is simple.  Fido may be legally property, but he may be very cherished property, and the parties do not agree which of them is going to take Fido after the divorce is over.

So what happens then?  If the parties cannot agree who will be awarded the dog in the divorce, the Judge will hear evidence regarding such things as who paid for the dog, was the dog owned before marriage, who cared for the dog, and the like.  The court is aware that the dog is a living thing and not simply a piece of furniture, and that one or both of the parties are very attached to the dog.

Sometimes courts will make orders such as “the dog travels with the children”, so that the children are never separated from their beloved pet, and the animal visits both households when the children do.  If there are no children, the court may still make orders that allows each of the parties to see the dog from time to time, but the parties are hostile, it is more likely that the court is going to award the dog to one party or the other.

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