By: Koleilat Law
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Pets and Divorce
Divorce can have many tolls on a person, some greater than others. Perhaps one of the most difficult things to lose is the household pet. When it comes to deciding who gets to keep a family pet during a divorce, it can be handled in one of two ways, depending on the court and judge. While pets, especially cats and dogs, have been involved in divorce for years, recently how they were handled in court has been shifting. In the past, animals involved in a divorced were treated more akin to property. The decision about who kept family pets was based on who would best benefit from having them.
In the eyes of many courts, family pets were treated akin to a television set, or a hutch. In modern times though, they are treated in a way more similar to deciding child custody. You won’t see a golden retriever spending weekends with a spouse and weekdays with the other, but instead of how they may benefit a spouse, who gets them will be determined by who can best take care of the animal in question.
This only deals with household pets however, such as dogs, cats, reptiles, rodents, and fish. Livestock is considered a different category though, being that livestock is typically a part of a business and would be divided according to who will be handling the business, or if the business assets will be split, the livestock may be split between the two spouses as well.
While a household pet may not seem like much of a deal to some, to others a pet is considered another member of the family, and can have powerful emotional effects on people. Studies have shown that owning a pet can have several positive effects on a person’s mental and physical health. Likewise, losing a pet can have a deep impact on someone’s life. This is why it’s important to have someone who understands the strain it can cause handling your case. Lauren Koleilat has spent years helping clients facing divorce, and has always brought experience and understanding to every case she handles.