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During this time of social distancing, the Law Office of Marla Zide, LLC is offering both phone and video conferencing options for meetings and consultations. You will be able to contact us via phone during regular business hours to schedule.

Property division: Dogs considered as people or property?

| Feb 27, 2018 | property division

There are many people who consider their dogs as part of the family. Some Maryland dog owners will even say that their dogs are their children, and they go so far as to dress them in clothes and take professional photos with them. When a couple acquires a dog during a marriage that later ends, the battle for which owner gets custody begins. Some people consider animal custody an issue for property division, while others consider it more like child custody.

Alaska and Illinois are the first states to make a push for animal rights in a divorce. The laws have been geared towards recognizing animals to be people rather than property. Society has pushed toward humanizing dogs, and this has led to new legislation where the divorce statues have been amended. Some judges must consider dogs in a divorce and may even grant joint custody.

Pet ownership has increased by 30 percent since the 1980s, and animal activists pose that the rights of animals are lacking. They push for the idea that animals, in fact, should have their own rights. Animals do have minimal rights against animal cruelty, where torturing or murdering an animal could lead to hefty fines or jail time. Other inanimate items, like a laptop or microwave, that are also considered property would not incur these types of consequences.

Pet owners in Maryland who are facing a divorce with a possible custody battle for their pets may have many questions and concerns regarding the custodial process. It may be beneficial to seek legal counsel in this predicament on how to proceed with gaining pet custody. An experienced attorney can increase one’s odds of obtaining a more suitable outcome with regard to property division during the divorce process that could ultimately send man’s best friend home with the most suitable owner.

Source: newrepublic.com, “When the Law Recognizes Animals as People“, Suzanne Mony, Accessed on Feb. 24, 2018