Who Gets the Dog in a Divorce?

More on PawNation: custody of pets, divorce, pet ownership, Red_Room

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Divorce is never easy. And it's worse when your beloved pet is caught in the middle yet this seems to be happening more and more. Animal law emerged only about 10 years ago, and today half of the 190 accredited law schools in the United States, including Harvard and Yale, offer courses in animal law, including pet custody. The Huffington Post reports that there has been a 23 percent jump in pet custody cases.

Understanding how the family court views the family pet -- and that it rarely intervenes in pet custody -- can help you make choices that will improve your chances of hanging onto your hound or kitty cat.

Pets as Property
Though you may view your pet as priceless, in most courtrooms across the country, the family pet is like any other piece of property. Lawyers and judges typically do not see pets as family members whose feelings and needs must be considered in determining where they will spend the future. Often the decision of who gets the cat is no different from that of who gets the coffee table. And though you might be willing to walk away from a mint-condition midcentury piece, it's a little harder to say goodbye to your beloved Siamese.

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