The Secret To Caring For Pets While Going Through Divorce


One of the most common reasons people relinquish or rehome their pets is because of divorce. Due to couples calling it quits, there are millions of animals entering the shelters every year. You are not a terrible person for wanting to find a better home for your pet when going through tough times, but there are some factors you should consider for your pet.

The Impact of Divorce on Pets

A stable, loving home and a regular routine are what is best for our furry friends. This has been proven time and again by research. However, your pet will not be in good shape if you give them up to an uncertain future in a shelter or a new home. Your pet may also act out or experience anxiety when there is stressful domestic discord. Many pets, especially dogs, are used to habits. They go through a major disruption in their routine and can demonstrate symptoms of separation anxiety during divorce. Therefore, a perfectly trained dog may start to bark a lot or have a few accidents. This does not make them “bad.” It’s just their natural, short-term reaction.

How Pets Are Treated Legally

Those of us who love pets know they are part of the family. But, they are treated like property according to the law. Therefore, the judge probably will not care whose side of the bed your pet slept on or who took care of the cat when your divorce battle goes to court and custody is disputed. A recent study found that there has been a 22 percent increase in the number of custody hearings for pets. Custody battles almost always end in heartache so if you can, try to put together a notarized agreement.

Consider Splitting Custody

After a divorce, different people will prefer different pet care arrangements. For some people, a one month on, one month off split custody arrangement would work well. Others might find it works better to have one primary caregiver, and the other partner can serve as a kind of “petsitter.” One surprising finding is that with split custody, divorced individuals learn to become friends with their exes over time as they are forced to cooperate in a fairly easy-to-manage situation.

Divorce is a painful process, but it almost always leads to a better situation for everyone involved. By keeping your pet’s best interests in mind, you are sure to have a more positive outcome for everyone involved.

 Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.  


What To Consider Before Getting A Divorce

Deciding whether or not to divorce is a difficult decision to make. Think carefully before uttering the phrase, “I want a divorce.” Once those words are out of your mouth – you cannot call them back. That statement will affect the rest of your life, so be sure you really mean it and are not issuing a hollow threat. When hearing distressing news, such as your spouse had an affair, it can be tempting to shout out those words. That action can slam the door shut on the possibility of saving the marriage if the errant spouse walks out of the door for good.

We often react right away instead of thinking things through. The sympathetic nervous system floods the body with stress hormones, such as cortisol, to act quickly in a volatile situation. This is the fight or fight phase, where one can say hurtful things in anger. Responding instead of reacting, involves analysing the problem to form a response. There are ways to be more rational in the heat of the moment. Take a pause or a time-out. Decisions do not have to be made on the spot. Remove yourself and say that you require time to think, when hearing something upsetting.

Acknowledge to yourself, that you are in shock or in rage. This is the time to work through intense emotions, instead of exploding. Consider talking over the situation with a life coach to get a handle on these feelings. Together you can explore different options to see if you want to stay in the marriage or not. Getting in a calmer state will help one to gain clarity and be in a better place before approaching the spouse.

In other cases, it can be many little issues that are the tipping point instead of one major event. An individual may be unhappy or no longer want to continue to live life as they have been. They may feel unfulfilled or that something is missing. The person may think this is due to their marriage or spouse, when in reality it is inside of them. Having individual therapy can help pinpoint a problem area, such as suffering through Empty Nest. Therapy is beneficial when a person is at a crossroad at this point in life. In some cases, following a passion, changing careers or becoming an entrepreneur was what was needed and not a divorce.

A frank discussion with your spouse can help in deciding whether to stay or to bail. Take turns actively listening without interrupting. Reflect back what you think you heard, to give the other a chance to correct a misconception. Expressing annoyances and needs might be just the ticket to avoid divorce. Day- to-day communication can be superficial and a couple can drift away from each other. Communicating on a deeper level can boost marital satisfaction.

There may be non-negotiable areas where there are no second chances. This could be infidelity, a porn addiction, or abuse. Deceit with lies and a cover up has led people to divorce. Know what your boundaries are. When my spouse was going on a dark path, I had to leave. In a lesser circumstance, marital counselling may have been an option.

There are many resources for helping to fix a marriage or forming an exit plan if that is not going to happen. Relate is UK’s “largest provider of relationship support” and helps couples to communicate in a more effective way. This is just one example of what is available for troubled relationships. Going to a marriage therapist can save a marriage or help one see if it is worth saving. The therapist works with the couple and may also see them individually. This is a safe environment to air grievances and to start repairing the relationship. Retrouvaille is a program to help couples heal and renew their hurting marriages. The couple learns how to communicate and reconnect with each other. This program is sometimes considered the last resort to save a marriage. It is a weekend retreat, followed up by sessions.

When considering divorce, it is the couple’s decision and not one done on the opinions of family or friends. Others may not be neutral or care for the spouse. If feeling undecided, talk to a person you trust or have a session with a life coach. Take advantage of the many divorce resources available, including what the divorce process entails. Divorce is emotionally draining and can be expensive. Explore all avenues first before choosing to end your marriage. Whatever path you decide, have a support system in place.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine

Overcoming Loneliness Post-Divorce

It can be a shock going from having a companion (spouse) to being on one’ s own. When a divorce was unexpected and unwanted, it is especially unsettling going out into the world alone. Jumping into a new relationship to ward off loneliness has backfired for some. These individuals brought emotional baggage into it, before working through their feelings. If you are dating to avoid being alone in your house, then consider getting a pet. Adopting an animal is therapeutic and lowers anxiety. The furry friend makes a great confidant for the children.

Adjust your routine so that you are not following the same pattern that you did when married. This helps to alleviate the void in your life. Instead of going to the cinema at night, as you did with your partner, join the other solos at a matinee. If you miss your cappuccino, then go to a coffee house with a community table. One can socialize or read a newspaper, but still be among others. Cafes are following this trend of making it friendlier for single diners, with the option of eating at a large table. It is nice having the opportunity to strike up a conversation with other patrons.

This is the time to join others in activities. Guys I know, participate in sports through the community or with buddies from work. They regularly play racquetball, baseball or rugby with co-workers, post break-up. Delve into new tasks on the job. Several have become involved with the charity sponsored by their company. These individuals met employees from different departments as well as new faces from the non-profit organization.

Evenings and weekends can be challenging to get through when newly single. See if you can change your work schedule to coincide with your lonelier hours. I started an exercise class two evening a week after my divorce. Some divorced folks choose to work on holidays to avoid being alone. Job sites often have a potluck or some type of celebration on these days.

The big part of loneliness post-divorce was losing mutual friends or not knowing how to go about making new ones. What helped me was joining which is world-wide. We go out to movies, lunch and other venues. Attend your local events. Twice a month our travel bookstore/café hosts travel talks. These are interesting and gives me a chance to connect with other travel enthusiasts. A divorced friend enjoys her dining club and met a nice fellow. Several others are in book clubs.

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