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As more Americans become pet owners, an emerging trend for divorcing couples has been legal documentation concerning what will happen to pets involved in the relationship should the couple split.

Called a Pre-Pup, this document details what will happen to a pet in the event that the people who own it get divorced.

Pre-Pup Agreements

A Pre-Pup can address:

  • Primary pet ownership
  • Pet visitation rights
  • Rules on pet behavior
  • Financial responsibility for vet visits

While it may seem silly to create a document detailing custody of an animal, it is important to realize that a judge does not look at the pet the same way a couple does. While a couple may dote on their animal as though it were a child, under Pennsylvania law, an animal is considered property.

Pet Custody Battle Challenged Property Claim

Pet custody battles were brought to the forefront when a New York City judge ruled for a divorcing couple to hold a pet custody hearing. The couple disagreed on the fate of the animal, with one claiming that because they purchased the dog it belonged to them. The other spouse said that because the financial responsibility fell on them, the dog was theirs.

The judge ruled that property claims should not be used and a hearing would be better to determine what was best for all involved. It was one of the first cases to treat animals outside the realm of property and treated pet custody similarly to child custody by establishing what was in the best interest of all involved.

If a pet is caught in the middle of a custody claim during your divorce, it is best to consult an experienced divorce lawyer to help you get custody of your furry friend. A lawyer at the Cairns Law Office will answer all calls that our firm receives so call today!

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