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Getting a Divorce? Who will get the custody of the dog?

Updated: Aug 17, 2022

Does it matter who takes care of the pet? Does it matter who has the better home for the pet? Do the Maryland Courts engage in a determination of what is in the “best interest” of the pet as they would in a child custody determination?

The answer is NO as to all.

In Maryland a pet is a property. The dog or any other pet is no different than a big screen T.V. However, that doesn’t mean a court will not ratify any agreement the parties to a divorce come to in regards to their pet. If you really want a visitation/access schedule for your dog, we can create one.

If forced to determine who has a better claim as to ownership of the pet, factors which we have heard a court consider are:

- The name on the registration or adoption papers and/or a bill of sale, who has paid the vet bills, and whether the pet was given as a gift to a party or a child (did your dog show up with a bow under the Christmas tree?)

If a party can demonstrate the pet was owned prior to a marriage then that party has a superior claim of ownership as the pet is non-martial property.

If you have further questions and inquiries about divorce, feel free to contact us at or call us at +1 (410) - 876 - 4500.

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