Getting a divorce means you need to deal with a lot of tough decisions, like who keeps the family home or gets to be the custodial parent. But there is also something else you need to consider – who gets the family pet? For many people, pets are truly members of the family. How does this work in a divorce?

In Michigan, pets receive the same treatment as marital property. This means that ownership goes to just one person. Here are some tips for deciding who gets the dog or cat.

Connect the pet to the children

If you have children, chances are they have strong bonds with the pet. One easy way to solve this issue is to assign pet ownership to the parent who has custody. Kids go through a lot during a divorce, so allowing the pet to stay with them can be a great help. Plus, the pet can go with the children during visitation.

Keep the pet in the family home

One of you is likely to keep the home unless you decide to sell it and split the profits. If someone is staying in the family home, it may be a good idea to keep the pet there. This is especially true if the pet does not do well with adjusting to new surroundings.

Assign ownership to the person who works less

If either of you has a job that demands a lot of your time and effort, it may not make sense to give the pet to that person. Pets require attention, care and exercise. Generally, it is not a good idea to assign ownership to someone who works a lot and does not have enough time to provide proper care.

No matter what decision you make, it can be difficult. But the best thing to do is to keep the best interests of your pet and children in mind.