According to a 2006 survey, nearly a quarter of divorce lawyers surveyed across the U.S. said they had noticed an increase in pet-custody cases in the past five years. Pets custody represents a new issue for the Custody Lawyer or Divorce Mediator.
This article provides a brief overview of this new trend in custody law.
When a marriage goes bad and a couple decides to call it quits, usually the most important issue to be resolved is the custody of the children. But what if one of the ‘children’ is a beloved pet?Although surveys have shown that the majority of pet owners refer to themselves as their pet’s “mom” or “dad”, the courts consider our furry friends to be mere property, to be distributed along with the wedding china and stereo system.
According to a 2006 poll of 1,500 members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, nearly a quarter of divorce lawyers surveyed across the U.S. said they had noticed an increase in pet-custody cases in the past five years. In 90% of these cases, the pet in question was a dog (poor cats – they get no respect). “More and more couples are opting to have a judge ultimately decide which party will truly be the dog’s best friend,” said Cheryl Lynn Hepfer, president of the AAML.
In most cases, custody of a pet is awarded to the parent who also gains custody of the children. And while this may leave the non-custodial parent out in the cold without the kids or the pets, I think it makes sense. Divorce is hard enough on a child without losing your best friend, too.
Have you experienced this tug of love with a cherished pet? How did you work it out?