Kristina Bergsten

Pet Custody Primer

As Colorado’s premier animal law firm, our animal lawyers know there is a lot of bad information on the Internet these days. That’s why we have put together this quick pet custody primer to help dispel some of the bad information.

There is an adage that “possession is 9/10ths of the law.” While that may be true in some cases, it is not true in all cases, particularly in pet custody disputes. Typically, in Colorado, the “paper owner” of the dog is the one who walks away with the dog at the conclusion of a lawsuit.

However, Colorado courts have ruled that couples who bought a dog during their relationship and then shared the dog after the relationship terminated can be ordered to continue sharing the dog for the remainder of the dog’s life.

I never recommend that anyone share a living creature after the end of a relationship because as soon as a new partner is in the picture, the sharing typically stops, and it’s the dog who ends up suffering. Plus, going back and forth to a new place every other week or every other month is exhausting for the people and the pet. Not to mention moving, continuing to share pet-expenses… it’s just a mess.

If you are convinced that sharing a pet is what you want to do after the relationship terminates, then GET THE TERMS OF PET CUSTODY IN WRITING!! I absolutely cannot stress this enough. It is simply foolish to not get the basic terms in writing.

If you agree that sharing a pet after a relationship ends is not a good idea, then consider buying out the other party and getting that agreement in writing, including termination of the other person’s claims to rights in the pet.

If you need help drawing up a pet custody agreement or a termination of ownership rights, please call our experienced animal attorneys at The Animal Law Firm at 303-623-4000 for a free consultation today!

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