Guest Author - Caroline Henrich
Everyone thinks that children are the only living creatures that divorcing adults must consider. Of course, they are very important and must be given top priority. There are however others that may also experience change as a result of a divorce. They are the pets.
There can be dogs, cats, birds, fish and even ferrets. They cannot speak, but will sense something is wrong. Hopefully, two mature adults will discuss their post-divorce care in a mature and calm manner. Unfortunately some people must have a judge decide custody. This is unfortunate and should be avoided if at all possible.
If you have pets, please realize they are confused, frightened and unsure of the future, just like children. They most likely love both "their mom and dad". Please do not use them as pawns, they are innocent.
Make every effort to work out a solution that is fair to everyone. If you are not close to the pet, but your spouse loves the pet please permit the loving "mom" or "dad" to take the pet. If there is a child, listen to your child and consider his or her feelings as it relates to the pet.
If you both love the pet, consider a sharing arrangement. Please consider including the custody sharing arrangement for your pet in a settlement document. It is important that there is also clarity regarding financial responsibility. This includes the cost of food, vet visits and grooming.
It is also important to speak with your vet in the event your pet is feeling anxiety or exhibiting stress. This can happen. A pet can begin biting his or her paws or pulling out his or her feathers.
It can be hard to be separated from a loving pet. If you agree to give your pet to your ex or a judge orders you to do so, understand it is natural to grieve. Keep pictures and relive your happy memories. Crying is also part of the grieving process. Realize however that time will lessen the painful feelings. This does not mean you will ever forget your loving memories or even the pain, but life will continue.
Perhaps the time will come when you may want to consider volunteering at a shelter. You will meet new people and help these unfortunate animals. They need love and support and will reward your kindness. Who knows, you may want to adopt one and start a new life together.