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Pets considered during property division

Maryland couples seeking to begin the process of divorce should consider many factors that will be involved in the proceedings. Property division, child custody and alimony are just a few areas that will need to be addressed. However, couples will also need to consider the family pet, as animals have increasingly been involved in the battle of dividing assets.

As the family pet has evolved into a member of the family, pets have become a source of contention between divorcing couples. According to a recent survey, there has been a significant increase in pet custody fights in the last several years. The family dog is the most contested, while the household cat and other animals fall drastically short. As if they would with a child, there are some couples who consider shared custody of a pet. However, under most state laws, a pet is treated no different than personal property.

For couples who are wrestling with who gets custody of the family pet, there are some strategies for addressing a pet custody agreement. The pair can attempt to settle the issue with their spouse outside of the court with the counsel of his or her attorney. If there is a custody agreement, it would be beneficial to make a detailed schedule of pet visitation. If kids are involved, it may be advantageous for the pet to share the same schedule as the children.  

While a pet can bring joy into a family home, it can also bring stress during a divorce. Overall, the couple should take in consideration who would best be able to provide and care for the pet. It may prove advantageous for he or she to seek the counsel of a Maryland attorney in regard to laws pertaining to pet custody and property division.

Source: hometownlife.com, "Pets increasingly becoming divorce battleground", Susan Peck, March 27, 2018

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