Cheryl Burke awarded custody of dog in court case with Matthew Lawrence

Cheryl Burke’s divorce from Matthew Lawrence has seemed somewhat contentious based on the information about it she’s putting out there herself. She strongly implied that he cheated and she took him to court over custody of their dog. The dog custody issue persisted after their actual divorce was finalized, but now it’s resolved — Cheryl gets custody of Ysabella.

Cheryl Burke and Matthew Lawrence have reached a settlement in their pet custody dispute.

According to court documents, obtained by Us Weekly on Saturday, January 14, the Dancing With the Stars alum, 38, was awarded all ownership rights pertaining to French bulldog Ysabella. Per the court filing, Lawrence, 42, has agreed to give up any documentation or data pertaining to the pup.

While Burke and the Boy Meets World alum settled their divorce late last year, they remained at odds over who would care for their Frenchie.

“I am now officially divorced. This all happened on premiere night of Dancing With the Stars,” the Dance Moms alum said during an October 2022 episode of her “Burke in the Game” podcast. “But it is still not over because we have to go to trial — unless he all of a sudden calls it off — but that will happen in January.”

She added at the time: “I am still really hurt by the whole situation because that is my dog. Ysabella is my daughter; I am a dog mom. I couldn’t even imagine my life without her. I could just cry right now.”

Lawrence, who was married to the choreographer for three years, had previously gifted Ysabella to his then-bride following their May 2019 nuptials. Throughout their relationship and divorce proceedings, Burke took charge of taking care for the pooch.

“I have to give credit to my dog Ysabella for keeping me going a lot of the time,” the two-time DWTS champ wrote in an exclusive essay for Us Weekly last October. “Yep, I’m a full-blown ‘dog mom’ and not ashamed to say it! Going through a public divorce, there have been days where I wanted to just stay in bed and hide, and the idea of numbing my emotions with a vodka soda can sound pretty appealing. But Ysabella has tons of energy and gets me outside to go for walks multiple times a day, she loves me to play with her and I honestly can’t imagine life without her by my side 24/7.”

[From US Weekly]

I’m no expert in pet custody, but if Matthew gave Cheryl the pup as a gift, it would seem she’s the rightful owner/mom, but I think documents may have played a factor as well. Something similar happened to my friend during a breakup — she went to court with her ex because she wanted the dog, but despite the fact that she was more attached and had done all the caring, the dog ultimately went to her ex because his name was on all the papers. It sounds like Cheryl was the appropriate person for the dog — the dog was a gift to her and she did all the caring. I’m sure Matthew loved the dog as well — obviously, if they went to court — but she was Cheryl’s dog. I definitely empathize with Cheryl in this situation. Regardless of the circumstances under which we parted, I couldn’t imagine an ex ever trying to take my beloved pet and especially not after a contentious breakup. It sounds like the dog is bringing Cheryl a lot of peace at this time and that’s great.

Photos via Instagram

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9 Responses to “Cheryl Burke awarded custody of dog in court case with Matthew Lawrence”

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  1. Ariel says:

    I might burn his house down if he tried to take my dogs (hyperbole, but still)

    The nice man I live with feeds and walks both dogs (and he’s a great doggy dad and adores them) but they live on my bed in my bedroom at all times, and I pay their vet bills- under my last name at the vet.

    I’m glad she got her dog. What a jerk – when you get caught cheating, maybe minimize showing your crap decision making to the world at large.
    I’m sure his next girlfriend will believe all his lies ahd won’t think he’d ever cheat on *her*. B/c we’re kind of dumb as woman in love.

    • AnnaKist says:

      Aww, Ariel, your home sounds like my home. My adult sons moved back home, as renting became so expensive. My youngest son takes his sister’s two dogs for walks all the time. When he has his five year old son – like now, School holidays – he, his boy and his sister take the dogs to the dog‘s park. as there is a like that the girl doggie loves to swim in. My grandson rumbles with them, and they are so gentle. Today they am absolutely knackered. From 6 PM they kept looking at my daughter hopefully, wanting to go to bed. They had an extremely busy day running, catching and fetching balls, fetching frisbees, rumbling, swinging… because today is their fourth birthday! They even got birthday cakes and party hats! PI wish we could post photos on here…

      I don’t know who the lady in this article is, but I’m glad she won the case. At first glance, her cute doggy looked like a koala…! 🐨 😂

  2. Lisa says:

    I was sued for cat custody by an ex once. both cats had a lot of medical issues and the vet said she never met him, his landlord said he was not allowed more than one cat, I was awarded custody. But it was a very anxious time. I’m happy this worked out for her.

  3. art maven says:

    Interesting story. Thanks!

  4. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    Cat Mom here and I shudder to think what I would do if MerlinsDad and I got divorced and he tried to take Merlin. There would be casualties. (no not THOSE kind of casualties)

    (Disclaimer: I absolutely know he never would try but just in case. 🤷)

  5. Case says:

    Thank goodness. Obviously we can’t know the whole story, but if their marriage dissolved because he cheated on her, the fact that he was even fighting her about the dog is obnoxious.

    • Turtledove says:

      Agreed. I mean, if the dog was way more his than hers and she was trying for custody out of anger, I’d sympathize with her anger, but would think he should keep his dog. But if she does all the care, or it’s even 50/50 but he cheated? Yeah, give her the dog you monster.

  6. SarahCS says:

    I’m so happy for her.

    My friend is slowly trying to leave her ex (they still live in a house they bought together and she’s been in therapy for years to try and resolve some of her attachment issues, he has mental health problems he chooses not to address and takes drugs instead) and she’s really worried about her dog. Pepper is absolutely hers and she’s managed everything in her life since they got her only her boyfriend went to pick Pepper up so his name is on her paperwork and my friend is terrified he’d try and keep her out of spite. Whats worse is that he is so careless – think open/uneaten bars of chocolate left in the bed – that the dog probably wouldn’t last long.

  7. Sunnyjyl says:

    Happy for her.