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Divorce and Pets | More People Choose Animals Over Money

Prime-Parents-Club-Divorce-PetsParents of people children know that they have a 50% chance of needing a “What happens if we split” plan. They may not discuss it, they may not let themselves think about it, but I bet you, in the back of every parent’s mind is the “What happens if….” thought.

Personally, I don’t think that it’s all that crazy. Again, the divorce rate is roughly 40-50% in our country. I have friends who state, prior to marriage, that their future spouse is “The one or the first one.” If you ignore marital status and just look at long-term committed relationships, chances are you still have roughly the same potential split rate. There’s just no getting around it anymore, any relationship has a roughly 50% chance of ending. 

Pet parents also may not discuss or let themselves think about “What if…” but I promise you, it’s there. According to a survey of 1,500 pet owners by PetMD, “90% of pet owners would fight more passionately for their pets than for money in a divorce.” Even more telling is this information released by Michigan State University College of Law: “Because pets are becoming such a big part of our lives, some courts …  are willing to treat pets more like children… Courts have considered the best interest of the pets in determining who gets custody of them. They have also awarded shared custody, visitation, and alimony payments to the owners.”

What about you?  As pet owner (or pet parent, if you prefer), a people parent, or both, what do you think about having a “What if…” plan?  Do you have one?  Have you and your spouse or significant other discussed “What if?”


Hi, I’m Cristin. I have a tendency to look at most things from a weird angle and I love to solve problems. Wanna talk about pets, life, communicating, or anything in between, I’m probably your gal. Connect with me on Twitter.


  1. Carey

    January 27, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I have never adopted an animal with someone I am in a relationship with but, as someone who loves the 2 cats she has, I cannot see me saying “Here, you have the pets” UNLESS I know that he would be able to take better care of them than I could, and honestly, I don’t see that happening… Furbabies are always spoiled by me.

    • C Hipke

      January 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      I do believe it’s a different situation if your pack was established during the relationship or is a blending of each partners pets. If couple gets pets as a couple, then I could easily see how a fight would ensue, otherwise, it would seem to me that it would be “I take mine, you take yours” kind of situation.

  2. Prime Parents Club

    January 27, 2012 at 7:58 am

    I have a Ninja Cocaine Attack Kitty. I’ll pay my husband to TAKE him if we split.


    Interesting article. Had no idea about those high statistics.


    • C Hipke

      January 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

      I didn’t either, kind of … well, it just tells you a little about the bond people form with their pets I guess, right?

      I would guess, that if there is a separation looming, a lot of people turn to their pets for unconditional love and acceptance, so why would they want to give that up?

      :) NCK would not want to go with your husband, because then stalking you would be so much more difficult

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