By Amy Feldman

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When a couple gets divorced, can they get a custody arrangement for the dog?

Chicago’s soon-to-be-ex-spouses Paul and Susan Barthel have been disputing their divorce for going on two years now. And while they’ve established separate residences, they are still arguing over who gets custody of Pepper, their beloved dog.

If there’s no dispute over the fact that the dog was adopted by the two of them during their marriage, would the court award joint custody?


Courts are backlogged with child custody matters and will not get involved in the custody of animals, which the courts see as another asset – like the silverware – to be divided. That said, there’s no law that says that couples can’t come to an agreement on their own if they can either agree that the other ex has love for the dog and a right to see it – or, if they want to continue to share expenses related to the animal.

But if they can’t agree, then like the rest of the property be it of monetary or sentimental value, it will be awarded to one or the other but, like everything else, they will no longer have to share it.