Many of the decisions that parents make early in their divorce process can have a lasting impact on the children in the family. Decisions about how the spouses will handle the family home or share custody around the holidays can have a major influence on the lives of the children. Agreements about the overall division of parenting time and support will also dramatically impact how kids adjust to their changing family situation.
Another important consideration with potential long-term emotional repercussions involves family pets. For example, if there is a canine companion who has long enriched the lives of the children in the family, what will happen to the animal will be very important for the children in the family.
If coparents intend to go to court and litigate, they can anticipate a judge likely awarding the animal to one spouse or the other as an asset rather than a member of the family. As a result, it is important to consider how West Virginia parents sharing custody can potentially handle a pet when they divorce.
They can let one parent keep the pet
Occasionally, the family has already decided that one parent should stay in the family home. If the other will rent, it might make the most sense for the household pet to stay where it already lives. Even if both parents will move to new homes after the separation, factors ranging from the work schedules of the parents to their finances will influence which adult could offer the animal a better life.
They may want the animal to travel with the children
A companion animal can be a key source of emotional support during the often-intense experience of a parental divorce. It may be best for the children to have the animals stay wherever they are at any given moment.
Such arrangements can also benefit the adults in the family, as both households can enjoy time with the animal that the parents likely love dearly. Divorcing spouses have the right to negotiate various arrangements for their families, possibly including unusual agreements that work well for the family despite bucking tradition.
Thinking carefully about child custody arrangements and family circumstances can help those preparing for the most challenging property division decisions in their upcoming West Virginia divorces. Coparents who have questions about how best to navigate the challenges of pet custody when the feelings of their minor children are a consideration may benefit from seeking legal guidance.