‘What about the family dog?’ asked a divorced parent


by Jeralyn Lawrence, Family Law Attorney, Lawrence Law

For many of our clients, a family dog is an integral and beloved part of the family. They provide ample love and support. We couldn’t possibly imagine having to part ways with a pet as a result of a separation or divorce. This is especially true for our client’s with children who have grown attached to their furry friends. Quite often, our clients ask us what will happen to their family pet(s). Unfortunately, courts in New Jersey continue to view pets as ordinary property. Pets are treated the same as a coveted dining room set or Peloton bike or your everyday dishes. For this reason, we encourage our clients to get creative when dealing with these difficult issues. This is especially true when there are children impacted by the decision of where the pet should go.

One creative solution for families with children and pets is to have them share the same “parenting time” schedule. Thus, when your child is enjoying time with their parent, so too is your family pet, and vice versa. This way, your child is never separated from his or her beloved friend. Also, each parent is afforded an opportunity to spend time with the family pet. Lastly, the family dog may be happier spending some time with the entire family. This is but one of many creative solutions that may amicably resolve what could otherwise be a heart wrenching decision for you and your family.

Please contact us at moc.m1575749899rifwa1575749899lwal@1575749899ecner1575749899walj1575749899 if you have any questions about this blog, or other family law matters.


Jeralyn Lawrence is a family law attorney with Lawrence Law in Watchung. She also serves as Second Vice President of the New Jersey State Bar Association (slated to become President in 2022), is the Past Chair of the Family Law Section of the NJSBA, and serves as Second Vice-President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She can be reached at moc.m1575749899rifwa1575749899lwal@1575749899ecner1575749899walj1575749899 or (908) 645-1000.

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