There are many discussions on what happens when a family decides to go their separate ways and if they have children, sorting out the legalities of custody can be done amicably and with understanding.
There are guidelines on how to achieve this (this doesn’t imply that it is an easy process by any means). If there are no children and their pets are considered ‘the kids in the family’, what are the rules for custody of the pets?
I’ve had my share of clients asking me to come in and get their pet’s view of who they want to live with. I can tell you it’s a very awkward position to be placed in and very emotional for a pet to make this decision.
I don’t encourage owners to place this decision on their pets, as taking sides can be very difficult for them. Our animals are extremely loyal to their owners and while they do have their favourites, it’s a heartbreaking decision for them to make while there are so many changes already occurring at home.
What I usually encourage is getting the owners to talk about what’s best for their pet. Who is the one that takes care of them e.g. who purchases their food and feeds them, who takes them to the vet regularly, who walks them, who looks after them when they’re sick etc.… This usually indicates who would be the best carer as they’re already in that position. But what if they both want their pet?
Then is joint custody an option?
Recently I’ve experienced a change in my family dynamics and it affected my two babies, Nero my kitty kat and Pi my slippery snake. My relationship had ended and I was moving into a new home and so many changes were occurring for both my ex partner and myself.
Both animals were quite unsettled and didn’t know what was going to happen, so we had to make a decision. While both pets love both of us as much as we both love them, my ex partner and I had to decide on what was best for all. I had initially assumed that it would be best if they came with me, as I was the ‘animal communicator’.
Alas that wasn’t the case, as we both wanted them. I asked Nero if he was happy to have two homes and have more adventures. He was very open to this as he got to hang out with his two favourite humans in the world. (Admittedly this involved a lot of explaining about how this would work for him and this included how he would get more attention this way too – yes some would say bribes).
It’s taken Nero about 2 months to get used to going between two homes and he has finally settled when commuting in the car now. As soon as I open the car door and open up his mesh container, he’s out letting everyone know he’s back in the hood. There have been no rules about when and how long he stays at each home; it’s usually worked out perfectly according to our respective schedules. The best part of him having 2 homes is that when one of us goes on a holiday, there is always someone else to spend time with him.
It’s been a fairly easy progression and I will say I’m very proud of how Nero handles himself – I am indeed a very proud mum. The other aspect that has influenced how easily we’ve made this transition is constant communication and working together. Both animals feel stable as both my ex and I have been very flexible and open to what the rules are and how they might change.
2hr Intro Animal Communication Workshop Monday 7-9pm 22nd July
45 Bay St Double Bay @ $45.00