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How pets can become major part of a divorce

We have written about many different divorce topics on this blog. These topics range from financial issues to social issues. Most of them are also accepted as being a common factor in many divorces. However, there is one topic that many people can't even believe is a real thing: pet custody.

Yes, some divorcing couples go to court to decide the custody of their dog or cat or bird. This isn't even as uncommon as many people may think. In fact, recently pet divorce cases have become an increasingly common sight in divorce cases.

In many cases, the pet is just considered a piece of property. That means the splitting spouses will have a tough time "splitting" the pet. In other words, the pet will go with only one spouse. There are also cases where on of the spouses simply takes the pet, and it becomes difficult for a judge to mediate the situation.

However, it is possible for a couple to negotiate their own settlement about how their pet will be handled post-divorce. Scheduling, costs and even visitation can be included in a well-crafted pet custody agreement.

Again, these cases can be complicated simply because of the stigma they carry. Pet custody cases seem weird, when they really aren't. Some families see their pet as one of their own. The pet may even take the place of what other families have: children. So there's no reason to judge a family who really loves their pet enough to include it in divorce proceedings.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Divorcing couple struggles with pet custody," Vikki Ortiz Healy, July 16, 2014

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