Divorce is never an easy situation, no matter how much two parties agree on the circumstances. You are forced to take the culmination of sometimes years worth of belongings and separate every last detail into two fair divisions. While material possessions can bring about a lot of stress and strife, you have to consider one big aspect of a divorce and that is how you will handle your dogs.

About 70 to 80 million dogs are kept as pets in the U.S., and that means that a good portion of people going through a divorce will have dogs to contend with in the process. When most people look at their dogs as members of the family, this can make things incredibly difficult. Here are a few of the most frequent questions concerning dogs and divorce.

How does the court or judge view dogs during a divorce?

When you are in the process of going through a divorce, you should be prepared for your dog to be recognized only as property and not a being or family member. Of course, this can always depend on the judge that you have and the state where you live, as some steps are being taken to changes the outlook of pets during a divorce. In most cases, however, the dog will be a piece of property just as a car or television.

How is it decided who will get to keep the dog?

Because it is likely the dog will be viewed as property, sharing the pet would be like the judge saying that you should pass a certain piece of furniture back and forth, or share ownership of  a vehicle. Therefore, steps will be taken to determine who the pet should rightfully belong to. If it is decided that the dog was an amicable investment, the judge could order two different scenarios if the two of you cannot agree on who should get to keep him. First and most undesirable, you may be ordered to sell the pet and split the proceeds between you. The second option would be that one party in the divorce buys out the other party's ownership.

When it comes down to dogs and divorce, it is much better if you and your partner can make a decision about the outcome of the pet without bringing it up in court. For added guidance and direction, talk to your divorce attorney, one like Kalamarides & Lambert, about what you can do, what you should expect, and how divorce could affect your dog ownership.