Pets Need Mediation Too!

Sandy Balick of discusses how to deal with the attachment we have to our pets when getting a divorce. Issues involving children are a natural focal point in mediation. It is frequently the number one topic to be dealt with and the issues are often fraught with emotion.

Then there are the pets. Yes, pets!! Pets are family members too and many of the considerations that go into parenting plans may be adapted to pet concerns (though I would hesitate to call such agreements “petting plans”).

While concerns over pets may not rise to quite the same level as children, the responsibility for family pets after a breakup can still be a charged issue and prove to be a “battlefield” topic.

I am reminded daily of the strength of attachments that may form towards pets. My girlfriend suddenly rescued two (not one) Chihuahuas. Now, I like dogs but I will confess that I don’t know that this particular breed would have headed my list of preferred canines. I will further confess that when I met them a day later, I fell in love with them in a period measurable only in nanoseconds. In a few additional nanoseconds, we bonded.

I am silly about Peaches and Coco (my attempts to rename them Quark and Lugnut, respectively, utterly failed). I may be heard talking to them,on many topics on the streets of New York and I have been observed, more than a few times, attempting to escape their leashes, wrapped around my legs as a result of their sudden, unpredictable and uncoordinated course changes while out walking. They’re (like most pets) hugely endearing. It would be unthinkable to be cut off from them.

Thanks to Peaches and Coco, I have a renewed appreciation for the critical role pets may play in mediation. The presence of pets in a failed marriage prompts such issues as who they will live with, how will decisions for their care be made and who will pay for their care – considerations also faced by separating/divorcing couples regarding their children. Mediation provides a no-less ideal forum for working out pet issues such as residence, care and care decisions, expense sharing and, yes, even visitation.

Not only are couples free to craft their own solutions but where these decisions prove difficult, the mediator is frequently able to share suggestions that may help create workable solutions. These decisions are properly included in the Separation Agreements – giving both parties the confidence that a mutual and enforceable solution has been put in place.

Now, if you will excuse me, it is time for Peaches and Coco to take me for a walk!

Do you have pets that may be a stumbling block in your divorce mediation process?


Feel free to ask any questions, to comment, or to request more information in the Comments Box below. Also, please feel free to forward this blog to anyone you know who might be interested in its topic.

Sanford (Sandy) Balick, Attorney & Mediator in New York Sandy Balick signature
Sanford E. Balick, Esq.
Founder & Principal MediatorConsensus Point Mediation, LLC.
Phone: (646) 340-3434


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