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Cheryl Burke Says 2023 Is ‘Off to a Great Start’ After Winning Custody of Dog in Matthew Lawrence Divorce

A big win! Cheryl Burke is celebrating after officially earning custody of dog Ysabella following her split from Matthew Lawrence.

Related: Dancing Dogs! A Complete Guide to 'DWTS' Cast's Pets

“Officially a FULL TIME dog mom… 2023, we’re off to a great start!” the Dancing With the Stars alum, 36, captioned an Instagram slideshow of pet pics on Sunday, January 15. In the sweet photos, Burke and her French bulldog gazed out over a sunset by the water.

Cheryl Burke Celebrates After Winning Custody of Dog
Cheryl Burke Courtesy of Cheryl Burke/Instagram

Friends and fans congratulated Burke on her victory, including season 31 DWTS partner Sam Champion. “I am thrilled for you! As it should be … and a great start for a brand new year!!!” the 61-year-old weatherman gushed in the comments section.

Us Weekly confirmed on Saturday, January 14, that the choreographer was awarded full ownership rights after battling for custody of Ysabella in court. According to court docs, Lawrence, 42, agreed to give up any documentation or data pertaining to the pooch.

Cheryl Burke Celebrates After Winning Custody of Dog
Cheryl Burke at the ‘Easter Sunday’ film premiere Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

Burke and the Boy Meets World alum called it quits in January 2022 after nearly three years of marriage. The former Dance Moms star filed for divorce one month later, and the pair finalized their proceedings that September. However, they remained at odds over Ysabella.

“I am now officially divorced. This all happened on premiere night of Dancing With the Stars,” the ballroom dancer revealed 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.”

Related: Cheryl Burke and Matthew Lawrence’s Relationship Timeline

The California native, who announced her retirement as a DWTS pro in November 2022, explained just how important Ysabella was in her life. “I am still really hurt by the whole situation because that is my dog. Ysabella is my daughter; I am a dog mom,” she said. “I couldn’t even imagine my life without her. I could just cry right now.”

Lawrence gifted the Frenchie to Burke following their May 2019 wedding, and the pup was a constant source of support for Burke in even her darkest moments.

Related: 'Dancing With the Stars' Winners Through the Years: Photos

“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,” the I Can Do That alum, who marked four years of sobriety in August 2022, wrote in an exclusive essay for Us last year. “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.”

While Burke has taken charge of Ysabella post-split, her ex-husband has already moved on with a new flame. The Brotherly Love alum was linked to TLC’s Chilli (real name Rozonda Thomas) in August 2022, several months before they were spotted celebrating New Year’s Eve together. Chilli’s publicist confirmed the duo’s romance earlier this month.

Burke seemingly weighed in on her former spouse’s relationship with a cryptic Instagram Story on January 4, writing, “That was fast.”

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