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Subject of custody battle has tails wagging

When a married couple chooses to divorce, a number of matters must be considered and decided upon. The division of assets including a marital home is often among the top divorce considerations. Additionally, if a couple has minor-aged children together, decisions related to child custody and child support must be made.

Child custody disputes can be emotional and contentious in nature. For some divorcing couples without children, however, custody battles related to who keeps the family dog or cat can be just as emotionally and financially taxing.

A same-sex couple in New York will soon become the first in the state to present a pet custody case over a previously shared 2-year-old dog named Joey. Both women claim to not be able to part with the pooch and are prepared to present their cases in court.

The judge presiding over the case recently revealed his plans to approach the case much like any child custody matter. Both women will be allowed to present evidence related to their relationship with Joey as well as proof of bearing financial responsibility for the dog’s health and overall care.

In most states, pets are considered property and are therefore treated much the same as a family heirloom. In this case, however, the judge is treating the custody of Joey more similarly to that of an actual child.

Many Minnesotans consider their pets to be an integral and important part of their lives and families. In the coming years, it's likely that custody cases involving pets will become more common. Divorcing individuals, who are concerned about the division of property, including custody of a pet, would be wise to enlist the assistance of a divorce attorney who can help provide for the best possible legal outcome. 

Source: The New York Post, "Landmark custody battle over dog in divorce," Julia Marsh, Dec. 4, 2013

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