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  • Writer's pictureStephen Williams

Dog Custody or Pet Custody is a thing, and we’d love to help.

Updated: Apr 18

UPDATE: Since the original publication of this article, the state of New York, for example, has passed a statute which reads "in awarding the possession of a companion animal, the court shall consider the best interest of such animal. “Companion animal". N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law § 236 (McKinney). The proper standard is a worth matter of debate. Thus, we conclude, would be worthy of our legislature's consideration and a better use of their time than, say, who anyone chooses to be, dress or love or how anyone chooses to implement medical advice and treatment of theirs and their family's healthcare professional.

trigger warning: We’re not here to judge. This is not that kind of internet. If you’re not a dog person or pet person and it offends you that our team at Foxtrot would use our time, talents and energy to address issues of Dog Custody, we sincerely apologize and hope you believe that that wasn’t our intent. We’re not here for what’s important to us; we’re here for what’s important to our clients. If that’s a fur child as opposed to a human one, so be it. That said…dogs are important to us. We LOVE dogs.

~ click here to book your Child Custody consultation at

Technically speaking, according to statutes and case law, dogs are personal property. Ugh. Whatever. Moving on…

Science tells us that “Humans love pet dogs as much as their children and the feeling is mutual.” With that in mind, it is fitting that the law has progressed enough that it will not just be about who bought the dog, who registered the dog, or who “brought the dog into the marriage or relationship,” although those issues will be considered. Our legal system will consider issues like work schedules, home environments and who has been caring for the Dog. (Hey, that sound like the same kind of evidence in something else we do.)

With that in mind, Custody of your Dog can be the most emotionally taxing part of a divorce or separation, especially if you don’t have children. And maybe even especially if you DO have children. I mean, how much of a bummer would it be if the kids are visiting for the weekend and glad to see their non-custodial parent but are missing their dog the whole time? (Is dog visitation a thing? You bet your furry tail it is.)

Unlike the societal commitment the Court System has for looking out for the best interests of the children, in which folks might just be able to get through a case without a lawyer because a Judge is not going to leave a child behind, so to speak, it is going to be crucial to work with a Lawyer to address these issues. This isn’t going to be a big deal to a Judge unless you do a good job making it one, and you’re going to need a lawyer for that.

~ click here to book your Child Custody consultation at ~

In the end, please consider the best interests of your dog. But, that doesn’t mean settle for something just to avoid a fight because you’re afraid of a fight worth fighting.


This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you or your unique situation. If you would like to speak more about how you, as a committed parent or caring relative, can be more effective in your Child Custody case, please CLICK HERE to schedule your initial meeting at one of our offices. ~SW, Foxtrot

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