On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Divorce on Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Pet custody arrangements have begun to appear in many divorce cases across the nation, and while most courts still consider them property to be divided, some judges have begun allowing arguments over pet custody.
Family pets have been notoriously a point of contention in divorces across the nation. Their companionship status can invoke strong emotions in their owners when they face the possibility of losing them, but they should not fret too much. Even where courts may refuse to arrange custody of a family pet as a part of the divorce, spouses can come to their own, independent agreement.
An attorney can create a custody agreement that sets out terms of “parentage” much like a child custody arrangement. The arrangement can set out everything from who gets custody of the pet and when, how decisions will be made and even how veterinarian care should be handled when considering whether or not to put a pet to sleep. The agreement can be as specific as to detail what food the pet should eat, what disciplinary devices can be used and who will pay what when it comes to veterinary bills.
Cases of pet custody are becoming even more prevalent, according to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. The attorneys who participated in the survey reported a 23 percent increase in the number of pet custody cases they handled in 2010. Several pet custody cases have even been followed in the news from Brittney Spears and Kevin Federline’s battle over their several puppies to Jon and Kate Gosselin’s disagreement over Shoka and Nala, their German shepherds that became a part of their family during the filming of their reality television show.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Who Gets The Pet In A Divorce?” Jill Brooke, 1/10/11