Man’s best friend caught in the middle of divorce battles

05 Sep Man’s best friend caught in the middle of divorce battles

Divorces lead to the breakdown of a family unit. It can cause estrangement, tension and overall emotional turmoil. The estranged couple may have accumulated significant wealth while married and in such cases, property divisions often become bitter. If the assets accumulated have emotional value attached to them, the divorce battle can become quite acrimonious.

In a recent case, a couple was engaged in a bitter divorce battle over the custody of a little furry friend, their pet dog. While one claimed to have owned the pet for longer, the other seemed to have financially supported him.

The landmark judgment set a precedent for all pet custody battles as it addressed the issue of pets not being property, as the law traditionally suggests. With approximately 179 million pets living in American homes, it is safe to say that pets are often regarded as children, not property. The best interests of all parties are taken into account before awarding custody of the pet to one or both estranged spouses.

Pet parents fearing losing their beloved four legged loved ones now enter prenuptial agreements enumerating clauses for their pets. Such prenuptial agreements are popularly known as “pre-pups”. Such

“pre pup” agreements take into account many factors, such as the primary caretaker of the pet, the home the pet is most attached to and any special care that needs to be taken care of in case of geriatric pets. Pets with special training for the disabled may also be included in such prenuptial agreements.

Even with the precedent being set by this judgment where the judge put aside claims of personal property, the law still regards pets as personal property. In such cases, one may find it beneficial to consult a legal professional to ensure that the interests of all parties concerned in pet custody battles are answered and met by the court of law.

Source:, “Pets increasingly at center of divorce battles“, Cameron Saucier, Aug. 24, 2014

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