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Who Let the Dogs Out?

Who Let the Dogs Out?
Written by
Jackie Walker

It's not just the care of children that divorcees fight for custody over. When it comes to knowing what issues you'll face, you know that there's divorce advice available to deal with the children, the pension, the house, and the financial pot. There's very little attention drawn to man's best friend - the dog.

I use the term dog loosely - it could of course be goldfish, parrot, cat or any other family pet which you may have. I also use the term "man's" loosely as in this instance it isn't a gender differentiator.

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There have been many thousands of pounds spent by people on fighting their right to keep the family pet - I heard recently from Ian McAllister (who, by the way, has a great article on women changing names post divorce which will be highlighted soon) that he heard of a couple who spent months and over £2k for their aged labrador. Two weeks after the dog's primary residence and care had been agreed, the dog died.

Now what this brings to mind is the short sightedness of the owners - just like with children, it is well known that animals, and particularly dogs, pick up the emotions and feelings of their owners/parents.

When my ex husband and I split up we had two dogs and there was no question of who would get which one as I was the walker (pardon the pun), I took Miga, our labrador who needed most walking - he was happy with our little Lowchen, Molly, The kids were delighted as it meant a pet in both homes.

I can understand folk getting emotionally attached to their dog - heaven's I am - but what about the story Ian then told me about a couple who fought over the washing machine? A £600 washing machine which they spent £1,800 fighting over? Now you can begin to get a handle on the enormous sums of money spent fighting over who loves the children most, who deserves to spend more time with them, who is due more money from the family assets, who did more and who did less.

Ultimately though what is being demonstrated in all the expense and fighting is the 'me, me, me' attitude or the 'oh no you don't' one. There are ways and means to help this along and one of them is to walk away from conflict. The other is to stand your ground yet be willing to negotiate terms which suit everyone. To stand your ground and be flexible is the strongest position - it shows that you have a right to your wishes, and yet you are respectful of the other person's wishes too.

"Speak when you are angry - and you will make the best speech you'll ever regret". -L.J. Peter

For help to find the balance in how to know what you want and being willing to listen and respect your partner's point of view, consider asking for some help - it's easy when you know what it is that's really driving your anger, your resentment, and your fears.

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