In a divorce with children, family courts can help to settle parenting time disputes and will ultimately ensure that the child's best interest takes precedence. But pets – who are still considered property in divorce proceedings – are an entirely different story. Family courts do not get involved, and judges almost never take the emotional attachment that humans form with their pets into consideration. Unfortunately, this can make divorces with two very loving pet owners (or even one loving owner and one very angry, vindictive owner) rather messy.
Two-Thirds of U.S. Households Have a Family Pet
Over the last few decades, more and more couples have decided to put off having children. Others have decided to forgo child rearing entirely. But pets, who are often seen as children by their loving owners, can be found in nearly 80 million U.S. households. Those households are as varied as the pets that are in them, but a percentage of those pets may one day become a bargaining chip in a divorce.
Pets Remain Property Despite the Emotional Attachment
Pets do not typically have a market value, and they can cost thousands of dollars per year to walk, feed, and keep healthy (which really does make them a lot like children). So, when it comes to determining who gets the pet in divorce, the decision is often based upon who has paid for the “property” during the marriage, and whom might best be able to fulfill the financial obligation after divorce. Unfortunately, this can leave the other owner without any form of recourse when it comes to obtaining “visitation” with their pet.
You May Hate Your Ex, But Your Pet Does Not
Much like disputes involving children, pet owners must remember to consider the best interests of the animal. Because the courts do not typically get involved in determining “custody” or “visitation” with the pet, it is a matter that owners are best left to sort out on their own. Mediation and other resources may provide some assistance, but in the end, the law has no jurisdiction. Above all else, remember one very important fact: even if you hate your ex, your pet does not.
Skilled and experienced at helping couples work out difficult subject matters during a divorce, Mevorah Law Offices LLC provides mediation services as well as full divorce services. When necessary, we will fight to ensure your rights are protected during divorce proceedings and will work hard to help you achieve a satisfactory judgment. To get started, contact our DuPage County divorce attorneys and schedule your free initial consultation. Call us at 630-932-9100 today.
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