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How may mediation affect family pets?

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2021 | Divorce, Mediation

Mediation offers an alternative to a courtroom dispute that may enable two spouses to discuss dividing their assets without the need for a judge’s intervention. It may allow you to amicably negotiate the outcome and arrive at a mutually agreeable arrangement.

New Jersey’s divorce laws generally consider family pets as personal property much like your furniture or car. As noted by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, mediation may allow you and your spouse to discuss your pet’s well-being and work out a post-divorce arrangement.

Mediation may lead to an amicable pet custody agreement

If you acquired an animal during your marriage, a divorce typically requires choosing which spouse takes ownership of it. Many couples defer to the New Jersey courts, which may send a family pet to live with the spouse who takes custody of the children.

When couples rely upon mediation they may agree on a shared custody arrangement. If you prefer to discuss sharing an animal or its expenses with your spouse, mediation may avoid a court dispute.

An agreement may outline caretaking responsibilities

A shared pet custody arrangement may consider caretaking duties. To enforce a legally binding agreement, you and your spouse need to put your pet’s requirements in writing. A written agreement may also outline how often and for how long each spouse may take custody of an animal.

Based on lifestyles and schedules, a pet may stay with one ex-spouse while the other travels for work. Instead of placing an animal with a pet sitter, and the emotionally bonded animal may then spend time with you or your former spouse.

Mediation offers a way to negotiate your marriage dissolution without the guidance of the family court. If you prefer to settle matters without a judge’s interference, you may do so and then have a judge sign off on your agreed-upon plans.


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