Fido and Divorce

There’s no doubt that pets often become a vital part of the family. But what happens to thatpet when its owners start fighting like cats and dogs and decide to divorce?

Survey by AAML about pet custody and divorce

27 percent of respondents to a recent survey performed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) have noted a rise over the past five years in the number of couples who have had custody issues over a pet.

22 percent of the attorneys questioned have found that courts are more frequently allowingpet custody cases. And 20 percent have cited an increase in courts deeming pets to be an asset during a divorce.

Dogs Over Cats

At 88%, dogs hold the top spot as the most disputed family animal, while cats came in second, with 5 percent.

Still, pet custody cases are certainly not an everyday occurrence – the issue is initially raised in about 15 percent of divorce cases, with less than 5 percent of these kinds of disputes actually making it to court.

Fluffy’s Custody Shouldn’t Be a Bargaining Chip

Often times spouses will use the pet as a kind of negotiating strategy, using the animal as a bargaining chip to gain the upper hand. Most attorneys will advise against this. The tactic is rarely effective and can often come back to hurt the aggressor throughout the divorce process. When it comes to a pet, it is often fairly obvious which of the spouses has the strongest emotional bond. A judge will most likely see this ploy for what it is. And once the aggressive party is perceived as having ill motives, the rest of the case may be negatively affected. Spouses who feel this tactic might offer an easy way to gain a “paw up” in negotiations might want to reconsider their strategy – it might just come back to “bite” them in the end.

For advice on divorce and how it may affect your pets, you need the expert law firm of Korol and Velen, certified family law specialists. Schedule a consultation today.