Women fight over custody of dog in divorce

Readers are likely aware of the details that must be sorted out when a married couple in Morris County, and elsewhere, decides to divorce. Before the separation can be finalized, a couple’s assets and property often must be split between them and, in cases where there are children, a child custody and support agreement must be made.

For one couple in New York, the remaining point of contention in finalizing their divorce is reportedly over who will get to keep their dog. According to reports, one of the women had purchased the dog for the other while they were still dating. When their marriage ended after only a year, both women purportedly felt that they should get him. It was reported that the woman who gifted the dog claimed that she financially supported the dog and was his primary caregiver, while the other woman claimed that her soon to be ex-wife made her give away her cat and the puppy was a gift to comfort her.

According to reports, a family law judge in New York is set to hear the case and make a ruling on the dog’s future. The judge purportedly plans to look at the case using factors considered in child custody rulings. There are reportedly precedents from court rulings in other states for the dog to be considered as property, just like any other gift, as well as for the court to decide not to make a ruling, leaving it up to the couple themselves to reach an agreement.

Whether you have a pet whose custody could become in issue in your split or not, it may be of benefit to consult with an attorney if you are considering filing for divorce. A lawyer can explain your options and answer any questions that you may have.

Source: New York Post, “Landmark custody battle over dog in divorce,” Julia Marsh, Dec. 4, 2013

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