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Who gets to keep Fido?

It's no secret that divorce can be complicated. The disagreements, the hurt feelings and the misunderstandings that lead up to the divorce don't necessarily make the decision to part ways necessarily any easier. When the mere act of deciding to divorce is emotionally draining enough, many individuals in New Jersey feel unsure of where to turn when they have to begin hammering out the details of finalizing the divorce.

There is alimony, child custody, child support, property division and one other thing that isn't always as clear cut...pet custody. That's right; with increasing frequency, warring exes are willing to shovel out heaps of cash to keep custody of Fido. According to one family law attorney, "People refer to their pets as children, but the court system has yet to catch up."

Judges will try to take a similar approach to pet custody that they do child custy. Ultimately, what is in the best interest of the animal? Who offers more financial stability? Most typically, the issue comes down to who originally acquired the dog. However, as with many aspects of a divorce, several of these questions are not as straight-forward or simple as they appear.

Divorce is overwhelming. Often small things like Fido nuzzling his head against your neck as you sit on the couch are the things that get you through it. Having to part with that companionship and comfort is a scary thought in an already scary situation. Seeking experienced legal counsel regarding family law matters can aid a divorcing individual in all the typical elements of a divorce as well as the seemingly unusual, but no less important elements like pet custody.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Pet ownership disputes can be as messy as child custody cases," Ashley Powers, Aug. 22, 2012

  • New Jersey individuals that are interested other aspects of a divorce may wish to find more information on our New Jersey Divorce page.

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