Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.

California recently made a big change to how pets are treated in divorce. Instead of being treated as community property, judges in divorce cases can now determine who will care for the animals. The animal will no longer be divided in terms of its dollar value, instead sole or joint custody may be awarded. Although this is a huge step in the right direction for how we view and treat animals, it may be a point of contention for divorcing spouses who are attached to their pet. All the better to mediate your divorce and pet custody issues. Unlike in litigation, the negotiations in mediation are directed by the divorcing couple, with a neutral mediator to help. The question of who should care for a pet, or who should have sole custody of a pet can be almost as complicated as with a child. If you live in the same city you can amicably agree to share the pet – but what if you move away?

Here are some of the situations you may face when divorcing with a pet, and ways mediation can help:

You are moving out of state or internationally. Mediation can make a heart-wrenching decision easier by focusing on the best interests of the animal. At Boileau Conflict Solutions, in addition to divorce mediation, we specialize in mediating conflicts involving animals. To clarify conflict, we help parties focus on the legitimate needs and role of the animal in the conflict. We use approaches like game theory to direct needs and interests into a beneficial solution. If you are committed, and you still want to “co-parent” your pet despite the miles, there may be creative compromises.
Your pet “co-parent” has a new partner. Just as with a step-parent, new partners’ access to a pet can breed jealousy and bad-feelings. If you can agree in advance to be sensitive about these changes, you can preserve a good relationship with your pet and your ex.
Your pet has health issues. When your pet has health issues, their care is more expensive and requires more time and thought. To avoid resentment and make sure your pet is cared for, mediation can clarify who is responsible for your pet’s medication or other things like
There is conflict over who pays for your pet. You may love your pet equally, but one partner may be more financially equipped to take care of them. Mediation can help you to a way to share these duties if you have both decided to stay in your pet’s life.
You can’t agree on what’s in your pet’s best interest. Perhaps one partner has a large yard for the pet and the other doesn’t. But one partner has a full time job and more time to care for the pet. How can you decide who should have primary custody of your pet? Rather than leaving it up to the arbitrary decision of a judge, you can work these issues out in mediation.

How We Can Help

At Boileau Conflict Solutions we are a group of caring and well-educated mediators and negotiators with financial, legal and psychological backgrounds. We maintain that animals are important stakeholders in our culture and should be represented fairly in conflict. The first step to successfully mediating a dispute involving animals is recognizing that animals have legitimate life interests. In the legal system, animals are treated like property. By considering the best interests of animals, parties don’t have to remain locked in intractable positions with animals as property or collateral. We apply our backgrounds in financial mathematics, the law psychoanalysis, and game theory to complex conflicts including high-level divorce mediation. Our divorce mediation services are tailored to the needs of people with complex lives or divorces that may be difficult or protracted. We often help with national and international relocation issues associated with divorce and are adept at crafting parenting plans for busy professional lives. You can visit us at our offices in Boulder, CO, Campbell, CA, Irvine, CA and Beverly Hills, CA. We can also be reached by Telephone, Zoom or Facetime. We are available 7 days a week and at urgent notice. Please contact us to see how we can help.

Read more about this topic: https://qz.com/1413462/pets-will-be-treated-like-children-in-california-divorces/

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