Dogs, Cats and Divorce – Mediation can help you and your pets?

Determining what to do about your family’s pets during a separation or divorce is essential to consider.  Your pets are part of your family, and the changes in households that come with separation and divorce have an impact on your family’s pets as well. While human beings have the ability to understand and cope with the changes and challenging transitions you may face during these times, your furry companions may find all the changes bewildering and distressing.  Just as you should prioritize your own emotional well-being during stressful times and transitions, prioritizing your pet’s emotional well-being is equally important.


Understanding Our Pets’ Perspective


Pets, especially dogs and cats, are incredibly perceptive to changes in their environment and routine. They form strong emotional bonds with their human family members and can easily pick up on tension, anxiety, and changes in daily routines. When a separation occurs, pets might experience confusion, fear, and sadness, much like young children do during family upheavals.


Why Mediation Matters for Pets


  • Maintaining Familiarity: Pets thrive on routine and familiarity. When a separation happens, their world turns upside down. Mediation provides a safe and structured place where you can talk about how to ensure that your pets’ living situation remains as consistent as possible. This may mean deciding on shared custody arrangements, how to ensure their access to familiar spaces and toys, and how to minimize disruptions to feeding and walking schedules.


  • Reducing Stress: An emotionally charged environment can contribute to stress in pets. Mediation promotes open communication between both parties, leading to a calmer atmosphere that pets can pick up on. This is especially beneficial for animals sensitive to changes, such as rescue pets or those with anxiety.


  • Avoiding Abandonment Issues: Sudden separations can lead to feelings of abandonment in pets. Mediation supports the creation of a structured transition that helps pets adjust to their new routines and living arrangements. When both parties actively participate in designing this transition, it sends a message of continued love and care for your pet.


  • Considering the Pet’s Best Interest: In child custody decisions, the best interest of the child is a primary consideration.  It is also helpful to consider the best interest of your pet during household changes. Doing so ensures that their needs and well-being are prioritized, preventing pets from becoming bargaining chips in disputes. Mediation encourages thoughtful decision-making that safeguards the emotional health of the pets involved.


At the Dispute Resolution Center, we specialize in several mediation services. Located in Olathe, KS., we offer mediation services to anyone In-Person or via Zoom in the Kansas City Metro area. Contact us today at 913-490-3689 to discuss your options! 


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