Although our pets are not children, they are still valued members of a family. After a divorce or breakup, custody of a pet may be shared. This shared custody can be a challenge, but it is possible to do it successfully. Below are a few things you'll need to know and also some tips to make the arrangement work.
Your pet needs to be licensed in most areas of the country to protect both the pet and their owner. The license usually costs only a small yearly fee, but it will help decide which person will be responsible for keeping up with the license/pet's care.
Vet Bills And Appointments
Pets all have yearly medical bills and possible emergency bills as well. Decide which vet will be the primary provider for the animal and which person will be responsible for taking the pet to the appointments. It may be easier to have one person responsible for veterinary appointments, although the costs should be shared. Additionally, if the dog experiences a medical emergency, try to discuss costs before deciding on a treatment plan. Since not everyone has the same view of veterinarian expenses, reaching an agreement in this area will lead to fewer problems in the future.
Reach A Custody Arrangement
A certain routine is going to be the best option for the pet, but it's important to have a custody agreement in writing as well. Write up a schedule and include major holidays, as these can be areas of conflict. Try to maintain as fair of a custody arrangement as possible.
Custody Sharing Tips
Now that you've got the major areas figured out, living with the shared custody of a beloved pet can be a challenge. You'll probably experience some anger and frustration, so these tips can help you maintain a healthy arrangement.
Put The Pet First - Whenever there are disagreements, bring up what would be best for the pet. This simple reminder can help to keep the conversation civil and focused on what is really important. Pets depend on their owners for practically everything, and keeping this in mind can often defuse even the most tense conversations.
Limit Arguments About Small Stuff - Maybe you don't like the way that the dog was groomed or the cat didn't get the food you prefer. These matters are often small and should be ignored as much as possible. If there is a legitimate reason for concern, such as the pet needing to be on a specific food for medical reasons, bring this up, but do so with a clear rationale. Anything else is best left unsaid.
Be Consistent With Boundaries - Your pet has probably been trained to follow certain rules and boundaries, but these may be different at each other's homes. Try to come up with a basic set of rules for the pet. Examples often include whether pets are allowed on the furniture or feeding schedules. Try to be consistent as much as possible and be willing to compromise if you can.
Co-parenting a pet can be a challenge, but it is possible with some planning and consideration. Use these tips to develop a plan with your former partner to try to avoid long-term problems.