A Country Is Great Is How They Treat Their Animals Dogs in Divorce: Multiple States Recognizing Pets in Family Law Cases

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Dogs in Divorce: Multiple States Recognizing Pets in Family Law Cases

Most people who have dogs and are close to their pets see pets more as family members than as property. These are mutual, loving, highly bonded and involved relationships between dogs and the people who care for them. Grieving the loss of your dog along with the loss of a long-term relationship in the form of a marriage is an emotional double whammy.

So perhaps it should come as no surprise that some states are now recognizing pets as more akin to people than property when involved in divorce proceedings. However, these are groundbreaking developments and worth a closer look.

In 2017, Alaska became the first state in the nation to pass a formal pet divorce law. Their statutes stated that the court must consider the welfare of the animal during a divorce case. This is as opposed to simply treating an animal as a financial asset or piece of property to be divided. The court will then be able to decide what essentially constitutes sole custody of the animal for one party or the other, or continued joint custody.

The state of Illinois was the next state to join the group the following year. In 2019, another state joined the movement, California. In California, however, there was a difference in how the legislation was worded. In that state the court is able to consider the welfare of the animal, but is not formally required to do so.

Also keep in mind that the laws regarding dogs in divorce cases apply to all family pets, not just your canine friends. They are most likely to be the source of a dispute between a divorced couple, but whether it is a cat, bird, lizard or something else, all pets can be viewed the same.

Having a state divorce court handle the issue of who retains ownership rights to your dog may seem like a laughable or over the top issue from the outside in, but from one dog owner to another, it’s clear an important step in the right direction. With several states now making the switch legally, don’t be surprised to see other states begin to adopt similar policies.

Meanwhile, keep in mind that these are only three states out of fifty where dogs in divorce are treated with consideration for their rights. If you live in any of the other 47 states, then you live in a country that does not legally or officially support such considerations.

Therefore, you should always be aware of any local legislation that may apply, and you should be sure to work with a legal professional who has experience in your specific area or region. The dog issue and divorce cases certainly aren’t going away anytime soon, so keep your eyes peeled for further updates.

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