Who Gets the Dog in a Divorce?

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Registered: 03-09-2001
Who Gets the Dog in a Divorce?
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Tue, 01-18-2011 - 11:21am

http://www.pawnation.com/2011/01/14/who-gets-the-dog-in-a-divorce/

"Who Gets the Dog in a Divorce?


"by Patti Lawson (Subscribe to Patti Lawson's posts)
Jan 14th 2011 @ 11:00AM Filed Under: Cats, Pets News

Divorce is never easy. And it's worse when your beloved pet is caught in the middle yet this seems to be happening more and more. Animal law emerged only about 10 years ago, and today half of the 190 accredited law schools in the United States, including Harvard and Yale, offer courses in animal law, including pet custody. The Huffington Post reports that there has been a 23 percent jump in pet custody cases.

Understanding how the family court views the family pet -- and that it rarely intervenes in pet custody -- can help you make choices that will improve your chances of hanging onto your hound or kitty cat.

Pets as Property
Though you may view your pet as priceless, in most courtrooms across the country, the family pet is like any other piece of property. Lawyers and judges typically do not see pets as family members whose feelings and needs must be considered in determining where they will spend the future. Often the decision of who gets the cat is no different from that of who gets the coffee table. And though you might be willing to walk away from a mint-condition midcentury piece, it's a little harder to say goodbye to your beloved Siamese.

Court Changes Underway
The way that the courts see pets is changing, albeit slowly. Today, 16 state bar associations have chapters that deal solely with animal law. Rhode Island and 13 American cities have changed the classification of the human-animal relationship from that of "owner" to that of "guardian." And though that's a small step, it doesn't mean that the entire legal system has caught up."

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Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001
Tue, 01-18-2011 - 12:48pm

Well, this hasn't ever come up for me, but I can imagine it could be a major issue, just as child custody is. And can be perceived as a "weapon" to hurt the other spouse, etc. Often one spouse is the "pack leader" and has done a lot of the training, daily care, etc., and the pet may have bonded specifically closer with them, than with the other spouse. I think the animal's well-being should definitely be part of the settlement. Pets aren't a piece of furniture! They are living beings! :smileymad:


Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(