Child custody battles can be difficult and emotional, but debates of the custody of pets can be just as heated. Couples can usually come to an easy agreement over who gets to keep various pieces of furniture and kitchen appliances, but when it comes to pets, it is easy to find oneself at an impasse.
According to one divorce mediator from the company, Reasonable Divorce Solutions, if no children are involved in a relationship, pets will be an important focus for a divorcing couple. The divorce mediator mentioned that couples will joke that their pets are their children, but in reality, one has the feeling that they are not joking at all.
Pets are a part of the family and emotional attachments run deep when it comes to our furry little friends. A recently divorced 46-year-old woman claimed, for example, that she wrongly assumed she would get to keep her 10-year-old pair of pugs in her divorce. She said that she had taken them to veterinary appointments, gotten them walkers and that her ex-husband had not done very much for them.
Nevertheless, the woman’s 51-year-old husband said that her offer of every other weekend was not enough. He said that that they were part of his family and part of his life. Now, as per their signed contractual agreement, the ex-couple exchanges their two pugs so each can have the dogs on alternating weeks.
According to a 2014 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, there has been a 27 percent increase in custody battles over pets. However, there is one thing all these couples have in common: no children.
Pennsylvania pet lovers who are thinking about divorce may want to consider what will happen to their pets in the separation. Pets are not children in a divorce; rather, they are treated as property by the court system, so it is important that divorcing couples have a realistic conversation about what will happen to their animals.
Source: New York Post, “Dogs are the new kids in NYC custody battles,” Lindsay Putnam, April. 07, 2015