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Questions that can decide who keeps a pet after divorce

You may not have children, but do you and your spouse have a dog or cat? If so, you may need to be prepared to have the pet dragged into the divorce case as you determine who gets to keep it. When you and your spouse can't agree, the following questions may be considered:

-- Who takes care of the pet most of the time? If you can show that you spent more time with the animal than your spouse or that the two of you had a closer bond, it can support your case.

-- Who has the money to care for the pet? If your spouse can't afford things like food and trips to the vet, but you can, the court will likely try to put the pet into the best home based on its needs.

-- How do the children connect with the pet? If you have kids, the pet will often stay with them. The home in which the children live most -- even if custody is split -- could become the pet's home as well.

-- Who has time and space for the pet? The court does not want to send the pet to a home where it doesn't have proper space or where it will be neglected. If your spouse travels a lot for work, for example, that could work in your favor because you may have more time to spend with the animal.

-- Who was the original owner? If the pet was yours before the marriage, you can use that to argue that you should keep it after the marriage.

If you and your spouse get into a legal battle over the family pet in Arkansas, you need to know how to work to gain custody of it.

Source: Huffington Post, "Who Gets the Pets?," James. J. Sexton, July 16, 2015

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