A divorce can be emotionally draining. Can a family pet help ease the process? Absolutely. Close to half of US household includes a dog, and a third of families have a cat. These pets become a part of the family, and in difficult situations, such as a divorce, they can become a genuine link to sanity.
How A Pet Can Help During The Divorce Process
Pets provide unconditional affection – something sadly lacking during a divorce. Children especially can have their stress and anxiety eased with the presence of a pet. If there is no family pet, parents should do everything possible to provide access to one. Perhaps the neighbor has a dog or cat. If not, a local zoo will surely have a petting zoo. This physical contact between child and animal can do much to ease children’s insecurity brought on by divorce.
Benefits To Having A Family Pet During A Divorce
1. Unconditional love
Pets don’t care if you’ve cleaned your room or have eaten the spinach. Their love and support for children is unconditional. And their warm fur is a snuggly lifeline when needed the most. As the world around the children is changing, a beloved pet is a steadfast friend and companion.
2. A Pet Is a Confidant
Everyone talks to their pets, especially children. Pets listen without interrupting and keep our secrets. They allow their owners, both adults and children, to vent their feelings without being judgmental. This is a priceless gift, especially during this difficult time.
3. A Pet Makes Children Feel Secure
When their parents divorce, children know their lives are changing in dramatic ways. They may move to a new home and go to a new school. They feel quite alone and confused. But a beloved pet doesn’t change. It remains loving and devoted when the child’s world is crumbling.
4. Pets Can Help The Entire Family
When going through a divorce, parents can be preoccupied with their own problems and are perhaps not avails emotionally available to children. A beloved dog or cat has the power to calm the moment and bring parents and children together – even if it’s only for a short time.
5. Pets Reduce Stress
While pets are an immense comfort to children, they can also be beneficial to the parents whose lives are changing. The love and joy provided by a pet can keep blood pressure down and ease stress. Their simple, uncomplicated presence is a natural source of happiness during a time filled with pain and loss.
What To Do With A Family Pet After A Divorce?
While pets can be members of the family, changes in lifestyle and circumstances following a divorce may force many families to make difficult decisions. More than a quarter of household pets are given away because keeping them can be difficult.
Whatever the difficulty (lack of yard or room), it could be worthwhile to arrange to keep the family pet, especially if there are children in the home.
As we have discussed, pets provide tremendous emotional support, and that is usually desperately when a family splits up. When one’s world has been torn apart, unconditional love is not to be treated lightly or tossed away. It should be cherished at all costs.
As children adjust to a new home and school, Fido or Fluffy can ease the trauma and loneliness. Losing a pet, in addition to a parent, will likely serve to increase their pain. It is undoubtedly worth the effort to keep the pet as a part of the family if at all possible, even if said family is now fractured.
Who Gets Custody Of Fido and Fluffy?
Human get attached to their pets; pets become attached to their humans, especially the one who provides food and most of the care. A discussion of who can best take care of the pet is important. Consider that one party may be far more attached to it than the other when trying to arrive at a decision.
If your pet adjusts easily, custody might be shared, along with the custody of the children. It may be easier on both pets and children if they occupy two households together as a team. Of course, this involves creating a calendar for both homes regarding the pet’s maintenance information, such as visits to the vet.
If the divorce becomes especially bitter, the pet’s custody may become an actual legal issue that requires discussion with your attorney.
Divorce is traumatic for every family, and it is a fact that pets are members of the family who are all-too-frequently overlooked during the process. Consider the benefits that a nonjudgmental pet can provide during this time, for both adults and children. While you and your ex consider what is in the “best interest of the child,” don’t forget about what is best for the belove family pet.
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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