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Determining post-divorce pet custody

A divorcing pet owner in Connecticut may have many questions pertaining to what the best strategic options may be to help ensure that his or her pets are treated respectfully throughout the process and that the spouse who cares the most for the animals may receive custody. The understanding that pets are considered personal property in divorce proceedings, a thorough consideration of which individual's lifestyle will best suit the animals' interests and the foresight to keep personal records to present a solid case can all be important components in framing an argument on this matter.

Applying property law principles to animal companions allows individuals to take advantage of opportunities to claim pets as pre-marital property or even to stipulate with whom a pet will remain in a pre- or postnuptial agreement. A court could weigh various factors to determine whose life habits better allow that person to take proper care of the pets. Having a paper trail that confirms that one was the primary caretaker of the family dog or cat could be persuasive in court.

For divorcing couples who have children, it may be right sometimes to not worry about agreements and paper histories if adhering to them conflicts with what the children want. As pets often enter families due to children's wishes in the first place, divorcing spouses may want to mold their pet custody choices around whatever setup eases the kids' minds.

As a majority of American households have one or more pets, it is not surprising that this issue has found its way into family court proceedings. An individual in such a situation may wish to consult an attorney who is experienced in property division matters.

Source: Forbes, "How Are Pets Handled In Divorce?", Jeff Landers, April 17, 2014

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