My Ex Wants To Get Rid Of My Pets Or She’ll Deny Visitation

divorce lawyer Andrew LaufersQuestion:

My ex-wife has demanded that I euthanize my pets or she will not allow my children to come over during my parenting time because one of the kids is mildly allergic to cats.

Does she have legal authority to make me euthanize my pets in order to exercise parenting time?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Minnesota divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

In short, she does not have the legal authority to force you to euthanize the pets. She could, however, bring a motion to restrict parenting time on the basis that the cats presented an unsafe environment for your children in that they caused allergies.

If for some reason she was able to prove this, at worst, the court could restrict parenting time, but not force the cats to be euthanized. In this worst case scenario you would be presented with a choice of whether you wanted to keep the cats or wanted to accept restricted parenting time.

If such a motion were brought, you would need to present medical records showing the kids are not allergic to cats.

Alternatively, you could present a treatment plan for the allergic children showing that the treatment would alleviate symptoms while around the cats and would not harm the children.  (Note: As a lifelong allergy sufferer who has owned a cat, I know such treatment options may exist.)

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Who Gets Custody Of The Pets?

If she proceeds to deny parenting time on the basis the children are allergic to cats without a court order, then you will need to make sure that the parenting time occurs.

If she denies parenting time, I would call the police to assist you in enforcing the time. Most police officers will not help, but at least a record will be made.

If calling a police officer does not work, some divorce decrees will require you to enter into mediation. Even if the decree does not require it, the court will not likely hear a motion unless mediation is offered.

The operative word here is “offered.” If she refuses to enter into mediation after being offered the opportunity to participate, then you can bring a motion to request compensatory time plus to enforce the order.If you tell the court you offered mediation and she refused the court will hear the motion. If she agrees to mediation you will need to participate.

Mediation is a non-binding confidential process with a third party. The third party will attempt to bring the parties to a settlement; if one cannot be reached the matter returns to court.

If settlement can be reached, it is drafted and presented to the court. In most cases, fees for the mediator are equally split between the parties.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Minnesota Divorce Lawyer Andrew J. Laufers, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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