How to Get Custody of a Dog After a Breakup: 3 Steps to Follow

When you’re a couple, owning a dog is such a huge step forward, a way to commit together and learn how to begin the family. However, sometimes things don’t work out and in the end, both of you may have broken up. This makes it difficult to figure out who gets the dog right after, as dogs are just like children who need love from both their parents!

If you feel like you will be able to take care of your pet better, then read on as I show you how to get custody of a dog after a breakup.

how to get custody of a dog after a breakup

How to Get Custody of a Dog After a Breakup

A dog is not just a material thing you can choose to keep or give to your former partner, they are also considered as property. Both of you have to communicate well and ensure that the dog goes to a better home. Here are helpful steps to follow on how to get custody of a dog after a breakup to ensure the wellbeing of the pet:

1. Negotiate With Your Former Partner

Look into the context of your relationship first, if you’re able to both come into a negotiation without having to get the law involved. Communication is key when talking about your properties and belongings, which include your pet. Schedule a private meeting with your former partner first, making sure you’re both available and at a good time where it’s quiet and you both can talk better.

For sure, there are many issues about dog care, from the food, vet fees, and other activities to do. When you both love the dog and want the best for him, then it’s best to sit down and talk about it, knowing who keeps him.

How to Get Custody of a Dog

Consider the history and who got the dog first. Also, see who cares for him better and who the dog follows around more. Remember to use a rational approach and look at things objectively. If the partner does love the dog, then look into weekly visits for them.

Once you’ve made the agreements, create a written outline of all of what you discussed and have it signed by both of you.

However, if there are abuse problems and you believe that the dog is safer under your care, then it’s best to take it to court if your former partner still wants custody of the dog.

2. Attempt Mediation

If ever you can’t find an agreement together, then consider mediation, with a neutral third-party deciding what happens to the dog. Both partners must agree to the mediation and you should prepare for it beforehand. Collect any notes and proof that you are a good dog owner and list down what your goals are.

When in the meeting, point out why you are in favor and don’t forget to point out the bond between you and your pet. Tell the truth with the mediator during joint and individual interviews, and make sure that you also find common ground. Once you both find the proper agreement from the mediator, make sure you have a written agreement.

3. Demonstrate the Rightful Owner In Court

If you’re considering to sue your partner over the custody of the dog, you’ll need to file a lawsuit. Small claims courts are able to handle such cases, though they are only able to award monetary damages rather than custody.

With that being said, find a good attorney specializing in animal law. Then file your claim for custody of your dog as well. There are filing and lawyer fees, so it’s a bit of a lengthy and expensive process.

Once the lawsuit is signed and sent to your partner, wait for their response and head on to court on the hearing date. Have as much proof and evidence that you are the best owner for the dog, having any evidence against your partner as well. Present your case honestly and with preparation, which your lawyer can help you with. You might even have witnesses willing to back you up, such as the vet or mutual friends.

When speaking and listening, make sure that you watch your body language and the way you speak. Be cohesive, calm, and NOT aggressive, as this would put you in the negative side. After this, wait for the judge’s order. If ruled in your favor, you are able to get custody of the dog. If not, you’re able to appeal to the decision within 30 days.

For more information, check out this legal primer talking about pet custody issues to help you out:

Wrapping It Up

Breaking up with your partner is hard enough, and dealing with who gets custody of the dog makes it tougher. Remember that you have to prioritize the dog’s wellbeing and make sure that he is loved the entire process and after the negotiations have been done. Continue to care for him and stick with the negotiations made, as this is actually better than having higher authorities make the decision for you!

I hope that this article on how to get custody of a dog after a breakup helped you out. So if you’re going through a similar situation, try talking with your former partner and follow these steps today.

If you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences on how to get custody of a dog after a breakup, then comment below. Your thoughts are much appreciated.

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