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Can you ask for shared pet custody during an Oklahoma divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2022 | Divorce |

When you decide to divorce in Oklahoma, you have to work out custody arrangements for your children and split up your property. Many Oklahoma families will also have other members that require their consideration. Cats, dogs and other household animals can be a major point of contention in divorce negotiations.

It is likely that both spouses love their pets and would prefer to maintain their relationship. Unfortunately, some people have unrealistic expectations about what happens with their animals in an Oklahoma divorce. Can you ask the courts for shared custody in divorce litigation?

A judge will not order shared pet custody

There is a lot of demand for time in the family courts, and judges have to hear dozens of cases a month. Couples will fight over property, over financial support and over custody arrangements. If judges also had to make time to review evidence related to the pets in the household, that would multiply the level of strain on the courts.

A judge in Oklahoma will simply treat your pet as a piece of personal property. For the purposes of your divorce, the pet will be part of the property division proceedings, not the source of custody proceedings. The judge will determine which spouse gets to keep the pet based on their understanding of the household. The pet will only be worth a fixed financial value which can influence certain other property division decisions.

You can make your own arrangements outside of court

You don’t have to give up on your relationship with your pet just because you want to divorce. Couples in Oklahoma are frequently able to negotiate their own settlements.

Whether you cooperate with your ex or you go to mediation together, the two of you could reach your own pet custody arrangement or decide that one of you will keep the pet and the other can stop by occasionally for visits. Families with children might have the animal travel back and forth between households with the children in the family.

Although a judge will not take the time to create such an order, they will theoretically approve an uncontested divorce that includes such terms. If it is possible for you and your ex to cooperate, then you may be able to ensure a continued relationship with your pet. Otherwise, you may have to accept a judge’s decision regarding where the animal lives.

Learning more about the rules for property division matters in Oklahoma divorces can help you prepare for court or negotiate more effectively with your spouse.