Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do I need a mediator specifically for my dogs?
Think of it this way; your lawyer or mediator can tell you what the laws say in regard to pet ownership, I will help you from the point of view of an animal expert who will look at the behavior and wellbeing of your animals themselves. While no one may intend to, dogs often become a bargaining chip during divorce negotiation, and then the needs of the dog can get lost. Or you may have been advised to arrange shared custody for your canine without knowing if that is a long term lifestyle that your dog will be able cope with. Having informed, dog focused support brings a clarity to the often confusing time of divorce negotiations.
2. We already have a mediator or attorney; can we still use your service?
Absolutely. I work in collaboration with mediators and attorneys as an outside expert who works exclusively on the custody issue of your dog, cat or other household pets. It is a common practice to bring in other professionals who have a specific area of expertise to offer assistance and guidance in the divorce process.
3. My ex and I are not on speaking terms. Can we still use mediation to figure out our dog’s custody?
Yes. I work with all my clients in the way that is most suitable for them. If you do not wish to talk with each we can meet for different appointments so the two of you don’t need to make direct contact with each other. Even for clients who are able to mediate at the same time, some individual time with me is often a helpful part of the process.
4. What does the law say about pets and divorce?
Every state and country has its own laws, however, in the majority of places pets are considered property. This means animals are legally ‘something people own’ no different than a table, car or a lamp. If you end up in court fighting over what will happen with your dog it is likely that a judge will have to make the final decision for you. Pet Mediation is a good option because, even if you and your ex cannot agree on everything, you can make the decision yourselves about your pet, rather and judge making it for you.
5. After we work with you what happens? Is the decision then legal?
I will provide you with a written document of the mediated agreement you both come to. You then take this paper to your divorce professional who can incorporate it into your divorce agreement and ensure it is written in the correct legal language. Your mediator or attorney will advise you on the rules specific to your area about when the agreement becomes legally binding.
6. Can you help me after the divorce for advice about my dog’s behavior?
Yes, I am also available to help directly with dog behavior issues pre- or post-divorce. It is common for animals to pick up tension in the home and act difficult or strange as a result. For some insight into how your dog may be showing you he or she is stressed please read my article here on 12 Signs of Stress in Dogs.
7. What is the cost?
Our first 30 minutes is free. I can speak with the two parties at the same time, or if you prefer, I can spend 30 minutes with each of you separately. You are not obligated to hire me after the initial conversation; the purpose of this first meeting is for us to find out if we are a good fit and if you feel comfortable working with me.
On average, I see clients twice for 1 ½ hour sessions totaling 3 hours. My goal is to help you both to resolve the question of pet custody as efficiently as possible. Typically, we can come to a resolution in two sessions, however, every situation is different and varies in degree of complexity.
My hourly rate for pet mediation is $350.
SA Hourly rate R950
8.Do you work online?
Yes. I see clients worldwide online.