As if going through a divorce wasn’t painful enough – now it seems that Ant McPartlin and wife Lisa are fighting yet another emotional battle.

The former couple share adorable five-year-old chocolate labrador Hurley – and they’re now trying to reach a custody agreement for the pooch.

Ant is regularly spotted walking the sweet pup in his local area – but following his marital problems with wife Lisa, his time with Hurley has been split.

A source told The Sun, “Ant adores Hurley – he’s like his child – but obviously so does Lisa who calls him ‘my boy’.

READ MORE: The BIG sacrifice Ant McPartlin is prepared to make in order to keep his divorce with wife Lisa friendly

Lisa’s devotion to the pup is also clear, given that she’s kept a picture of him, her and Ant on her Twitter profile, despite their impending divorce.

It’s thought that the pair will attempt to discuss custody outside of the courts, in order to avoid a messier battle for their pet dog.

It’s a rarely discussed subject, but it seems the topic of ‘who gets the pet’ after a divorce is a bit of a murky area, legally.

In the UK, pets are legally considered property – in the same vein as cars, shoes or jewellery. But it’s thought that the laws are beginning to change. In Alaska, pets are now considered more like children, meaning courts are required to consider their well-being before assigning custody.

But usually, the agreement is that the divorcing couple will get joint custody – so could this be the decision for Ant and Lisa?

It’s thought that Ant is likely to hand over the couple’s £6 million London mansion to Lisa in order to end things amicably, despite the fact that it is next door to best bud Dec’s house.

It makes sense then that the former couple will share time with their beloved pooch, for weeks or weekends at a time.

In the past, pal Dec has acted as a go-between for the estranged pair, picking Hurley up from Ant’s and walking him over to Lisa’s house. So might Dec be willing to wade in again to help the couple sort things out?

Only time will tell…