Divorce Attorney in Brooklyn talks about couples fighting over Custody of their Precious Pets
by cjleclaire
 Mary Grace Condello
Jul 19, 2013 | 26473 views | 0 0 comments | 160 160 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Many divorcing couples fight like cats and dogs, but more and more divorcing couples are fighting over cats and dogs. Last year, one New Yorker spent $60,000 battling for custody of his dog, and he’s not the only person willing to shell out thousands of dollars for a beloved pet. Animal custody disputes during divorce have been steadily on the rise for years, according to a 2006 survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Although companion animals are included in Orders of Protection in the state of New York, in divorce cases pets are generally considered property, like television sets or lawnmowers. But how many people consider their dog, cat, ferret or cockatiel a thing? For many animal lovers, their pet is a best friend, a member of their family, even a child. Losing contact with that animal is understandably heartbreaking.

Here are a few tips, courtesy of The Animal Legal Defense Fund, if you are considering divorce and anticipate a pet custody battle:

  • Paperwork matters. Be prepared to prove that you adopted or bought the animal. If this is not the case, did you pay for veterinary care, grooming, licensing, or training? You may need to show receipts for these services as well as food, toys, and other items if you consider yourself the primary caregiver.
  • Witnesses may be helpful. Did family members or neighbors see you consistently walking or playing with your pet? Do you have a regular play date with another person and their companion animal?
  • Consider mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution.
  • Consider shared custody.  Remember that your spouse may also have formed a deep attachment to your pet, and your pet most likely loves your spouse, too. You and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse both probably have your pet’s best interests at heart.

An experienced divorce attorney can help you arrive at a mutually acceptable custody solution for children and your pet. Call the Law Offices of Mary Grace Condello in Brooklyn at (718) 758-5480 to get legal advice and guidance that will help you reach a favorable divorce settlement.

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