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What happened to your dog in divorce/split?

(48 Posts)
Planbforme Sun 26-Jul-20 10:59:01

I’d really really appreciate knowing what other people in this situation did.

My STBEXH & I have split. I’m moving out soon and into a houseshare so I can’t have the dog. He will have the dog. The dog & I are best buds. He sleeps on the bed with me every night and I walk him every day. I’m bats about him.

Am I better off drawing a line under it all? Leave behind me STBEXH & our beloved dog? Or do I take the dog for occasional walks and try to maintain some half-relationship with the dog until i can afford my own place?

What did you do? How did you navigate owing a dog with someone when ye split? (We sadly don’t have DCs & I most likely never will now).

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Planbforme Sun 26-Jul-20 10:59:58


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Im in the same positon as you, though in just under 8 weeks i'll be returning to the UK and leaving my 2 babies with my ex. I won't have the option to take them out. Personally, I'd draw a line and move on, its'll hurt more otherwise and its not fair on the dog

LondonCrone Sun 26-Jul-20 11:09:06

Not quite a dog, which I suppose is more portable, but I took our two beloved cats when my husband and I split up. Like you, he moved in with a stranger in a flat share so it made more sense for me to keep them. He’s come to visit them once, to take them to the vet when I was away, but he’s essentially drawn a line under it. I thought it was very callous at the time, but actually it’s been good for both of us. We can move on, fall out of contact, but I still know that he loves them and would support me if I needed help with them.

PicsInRed Sun 26-Jul-20 11:10:22

Are you the poster with the controlling family and in laws who refuse to permit you to have any share in the marital assets so you're virtually penniless and homeless?

No, I wouldn't continue to have any sort of relationship with such a man, you will have to walk away from the dog as ex and his family will continue to use dog access to control you. Unlike child custody, there will be little help from the courts to resonably formalise this and keep you safe.

I would highly recommend you engage a good family solictor and apply to sell the marital home in order to obtain capital to rehouse yourself. Don't be a martyr.

Planbforme Sun 26-Jul-20 11:16:33

Thanks. I’m fine. I have a job and can take care of myself.

I’m really interested in what other people did so please continue to share your experience. This is a big deal to me.

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Planbforme Sun 26-Jul-20 11:20:08


I’m really interested in what you wrote I'd draw a line and move on, its'll hurt more otherwise and its not fair on the dog

I never thought of it that way. I was thinking it’s unfair on the dog to have gone from two people doting over him to only one ... but maybe seeing me for short periods would confuse the dog? It’s a lot for STBEXH to take on by himself but I have no facility to house the dog myself. There’s a ‘no pets’ rule in the new house and 3 other people will be living there so no way around it unless I take the dog for regular walks but it could just complicate all of our lives ...

What do ye think?

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AnyOldMorricone Sun 26-Jul-20 11:21:21

Some house shares will accept dogs.

I would keep in contact with the dog – if you feel all the time is too much during the break up, maybe once a month or something.

Obviously it’s easier to draw a line under it and walk away but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t keep in touch if you are close with the dog (my DH and I have a dog and our dog is like family, and we would definitely both keep seeing the dog if we split. She had a few previous owners and we arrange for her to see them too sometimes as well, which she loves).

Planbforme Sun 26-Jul-20 11:22:00

Thanks @PicsInRed I’m honestly fine. flowers

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SauvignonBlanketyBlank Sun 26-Jul-20 11:22:22

She had to be rehomed.Im still not over it 8 yrs later.

Planbforme Sun 26-Jul-20 11:25:56


My heart honestly goes out to you. So hard. I’m sure She’s safe and happy but I can imagine how tough it was/is on you. flowers

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elastamum Sun 26-Jul-20 11:28:45

I kept both our dogs. My ex used to have them to stay and walk them occasionally. Our current dog was also rehomed to us as a result of separation. I am still touch with his previous owner. She knows he is as much loved by us as he was by her.

Planbforme Sun 26-Jul-20 11:30:36


How was it sharing the dog with your ex? Was drop-off triggering? Did that situation last long? I know it’ll never be the same again. The dog won’t be sleeping on my bed and putting his head on my lap while I watch TV. Either way, I won’t be able to give him the attention I now do confused

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elastamum Sun 26-Jul-20 11:33:57

It was fine. We used to see each other quite a lot because of the children anyway.

Planbforme Sun 26-Jul-20 11:35:35

Yeah I suppose it’s different when DCs are involved. The dog is our only connection to one another.

Sometimes I think it’d be better to take the clean break but I’m worried that it’ll break my heart in two!

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Floralnomad Sun 26-Jul-20 11:37:20

Surely it depends on how amicable the split is , in your case @Planbforme you don’t have children so will have no reason except the dog to have an ongoing contact with your ex so if your split is acrimonious I’d say although it’s terribly sad you would be best to just walk away . In the long term will your ex let you take the dog if you do find dog friendly housing , if not again walk away now as it will only get more painful for you down the line . I suppose the alternative is that you try and find someone to foster the dog now so he is already away from your ex from the get go .

Planbforme Sun 26-Jul-20 11:41:31

Well we have it in our separation agreement that we both get access and STBEXH has said that I can see the dog once I have my own place. It’s been a long relationship and we’ve been through a lot. It’s the kind of thing I’ll struggle to move on from. In terms of starting a new life, it’d be easier for me not to see the dog I suppose. I just hope the dig will be ok. STBEXH loves the dog but he works a lot so there’s only so much he can do.

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Planbforme Sun 26-Jul-20 11:42:25


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suggestionsplease1 Sun 26-Jul-20 12:03:07

I had this situation - dog, no children, a fairly sudden breakup which I came to realise was because there was a 3rd party in the background.

Anyway, ex moved out but still came to walk the dog quite frequently and had him for some weekends. She still had keys, so we never actually saw each other, she just picked him up when I was at work, or shortly after I had left for the weekend /a holiday. That lasted maybe 8 months until we finalised the house (I bought her out) and after that was sorted she started saying she thought it best to not see him any more to help move on completely. I was a bit annoyed as he's not the easiest dog (has bitten in the past) and I was fearful of having to leave him with people that didn't know him so well and who may inadvertently trigger a situation where they were at risk.

Anyway, I must admit I put a bit of pressure on her over this as I considered him a joint responsibility, but then realised I would just have to work something else out, and I asked for the keys back.

So we have no more contact, which, to be honest, is probably best overall. Maybe if it had been a more talked through, mutually resolved and amicable breakup we could have continued some arrangement, but maybe not.

The thing is i have no choice in the matter, i have to leave them in Portugal, if i could take them with me i would, they are both registered in his name should i would be able to take them anyway.
Luckily, his family dote on them both so i know no matter what happens, they'll be loved and taken care of. I have said I'd like emails with 'pupdates' on how they are etc... and if anything happened and he needed money for the vets or whatever I'd transfer the money strait away.
When i moved out here, my mums dog used to go nuts if she heard on facetime and cry for ages after, which is why i say it'd be better to draw a line under it. After a couple of weeks they'll be over it and will move on, they won't be pinning for you etc..

BeyondMyWits Sun 26-Jul-20 12:12:44

When I lived with my ex we got a dog, I didn't really want a dog, so made him take it with him when he decided to abrogate all responsibilities in his life - I was fucked if I was going to let him walk away to his "happy new life" leaving me with an incontinent, shedding dog we had had for 18 months that didn't like me anyhow.

He took the dog, and tried to dump it at my house when it suited. So I went for a clean break. no dog, no ex. Selfish ... hell yes... Worked well for me.

Planbforme Sun 26-Jul-20 12:17:23

Thanks. I suppose there are a lot of variables. STBEXH has said I can keep a key too and come to collect the dog when he’s not here. I suppose I won’t know how feasible this all is until I’m actually in the situation. Our split is reasonably amicable even though I feel a lot of emotion hasn’t been fully processed yet and won’t be until we’re apart. I’m trying to think of what’s best for us both and the dog. I also really need to move on. This relationship has been tough and while I still care deeply for my H, the relationship has caused me a lot of pain.

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Planbforme Sun 26-Jul-20 12:17:58


That sounds so tough. Dogs are the best. flowers

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Planbforme Sun 26-Jul-20 12:19:31


I get you. Dogs are a big responsibility. I imagine we’ll have a similar set-up to ye. STBEXH thinks it’ll get complicated once we meet new partners & I suspect he’s right.

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QuitMoaning Sun 26-Jul-20 12:22:18

I had a dog when I lived at home as a teenager. Although the family shared him, he was ultimately my dog and I was responsible for ensuring he was fed, walked and taken care of. I doted on him.

When I was 18 I had to move out for work, into a house share so couldn’t take him with me. He lived at home for the next 10 years seeing me frequently but not living with me and it was fine.

Why would this be any different to your situation in the dogs eyes?

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