Divorcing couples fight about a lot of things; children, the house, money, and pet custody.
Pet Custody Issues
According to attorney Ann Margaret Carrozza, “The pet custody issue can be absolutely devastating.” Clients spend thousands in legal fees to keep custody of their pets. According to a recent survey of divorce attorneys found a 25 percent increase in cases that involve animals – of all kinds. Attorney Marshall Tanick has seen birds, aquariums, and snakes as the source of tension.
Pets as Property
In a court of law, pets are often treated like property, rather than like children.
“They don’t go with who is the dog happiest with, who is the best pet mommy,” says attorney Gina Calogero. According to her, the best way for a couple to settle issues regarding pets prior to marriage, with an agreement now colloquially referred to as a ‘Pup-Nup.’
“The advantage of a ‘Pup-Nup’ is that you’re negotiating it while you’re in a relationship and you know what’s in the dog’s best interest,” says Calogero. In this agreement, similar to a prenuptial agreement, the couple will agree to who will have full ownership of the animal prior to it coming home. For pup parents who have not negotiated a deal such as this one, Tanick added that during divorce, “The simple agreement may be the parties exchange or have visitation rights with the pet every other weekend.”
Source: CBS Boston, Many Couples Signing ‘Pup Nups’ To Prevent Future Legal Battles, November 24, 2014