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Does your divorce include a pet custody agreement?

If you’re like most of our readers then you’re probably involved in some stage of the divorce process. But whether you’re signing the last set of papers or just starting out, there might have been one thing that you hadn’t considered: who gets the family pet after a divorce? Not considering this before or during a divorce can create problems for couples, especially when both sides begin vying for custody of their pet.

As is the case with many couples the nation over, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse probably consider your family pet to be one of the family. But while this devotion to your pet can be heartwarming, it can also create legal problems. That’s because, when some couples are divorcing, they treat pet custody just like child custody. But herein lies the problem. Many states across the nation do not consider your four-legged friend as a member of the family but rather as personal property. According to the letter of the law, your pet could be considered no more important than your toaster and awarded to either spouse based on certain criteria.

To circumvent disappointment, many couples have recently started entering into pet custody agreements.  Like with a child custody agreement, couples agree to share custody and visitation with one another and even provide support payments.  But it’s important for our readers to remember that while this may work for some, it may not work out for everyone.  That’s why in a situation like this that speaking to an attorney is so important.  Not only can they inform you about state laws but they can help you draft an agreement that suits you and your ex and provides your pet with the best possible outcome as well.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Who Gets the Family Dog After Divorce?" Nancy Kay, Nov. 10, 2013

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