Tuesday 12 January 2021

Joint Custody of Dogs

 As Severus and Lily are owned by both myself and ex partner, I really want to start normalising that this is a thing. Sharing experiences and how we're dealing with it. 

During a breakup, people do lose their pets, which is utterly heart-breaking. Sometimes there is an obviously owner or you can say the other person didn't do anything, but for my personal case, that isn't it at all. Sev & Lily's Dad is a great dog Dad, looking after them, paying for them and doing just as much as I do for them. 

This meant it was a pretty easy decision to have joint custody of them, which for us works really well. 

Joint Custody of Dogs

Joint Custody of Dogs

The Dogs Happiness & Welfare
This is obviously number one on the list when thinking about joint custody. Splitting Sev and Lily up didn't even become a thought or option, so working around keeping them together and how to do it is really important.
Living in different homes generally can work totally fine for most dogs, but their behaviour may change and it's important to really focus in on that and be aware of what's happening. Sev and Lily have moved a lot of the last two years, and have been great, but there are things we noticed or that you can help with. 

Keeping routines and diets the same is really important, as well as having a true home for the hounds [rather than just having a dog come and stay at your house] Sometimes sharing a blanket or bed may work, to make sure they have the same smells and to transfer smells. Keeping things like walking times, feeding times and how they're treated in certain situations is really important- for example being allowed on the sofa at both homes. 

Having contact about these things, as well as training and health is so important, and so this needs to be taken into mind when looking at joint custody of dogs.

Joint Custody of Dogs

When & How Long
I have Sev & Lily around two thirds of the month, and Sam has them the rest. I only go 5 days maximum without seeing them, but do have them for longer periods at times. This works really well for us for a few reasons, I don't end up missing them too much, in fact it can be a nice break. It works around our working hours and lifestyle, I can take the dogs to work, I live with my Girlfriend, and I am home most the day- this means their Dad mainly has them when he's not at work.

As we live fairly close, this works for us, but in the future it may change. I couldn't really think about not having the dogs for weeks and weeks or months at a time, that is something that scares me, but it can really work for some people. It also means you see your ex less, which for some can really help, especially when you first split up. Having a mediator to swap them between may work too, my parents do the swaps sometimes when our personal timings don't match up and as they know that house and my Mum & Dad really well, they love it. 

It's a really good idea to have a mapped out diary of who is having them where, also to talk about if others are on holiday or want them for longer [to take on holiday, for example] how you go about that. We've decided first port of call will be each other if we can't look after the dogs on our days, but if it's not possible then it's up to us to find a kennels/walker etc. We do also try and take them to the same doggy care, if possible.

Joint Custody of Dogs

Money, Vets, Responsibility
It's really important to know where you stand with costs and money, sharing everything or just somethings, working our who physically pays the bills and keeps up with the insurance. It's also really important to know what Vets they go to and who is in charge of taking them for vaccines or keeping up with flea treatment. If you live further away, it's great for each Vet to know that's the case and have details of the other, as well as updating the other on certain important health matters. 

Being a Vet Nurse, Sev and Lily are under my practice, however Sam does know the nearest one when they're there, for emergencies. 

For everything I think it's really important to plan, to have this scheduled and to be on the same page with everything. Communication is key, and always having the dogs happiness forefront to what you do when having joint custody of dogs.

Joint Custody of Dogs

You can watch more about my joint custody situation

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