Determining the ownership of a family pet, such as a dog, cat, or any other cherished animal, can be an emotionally distressing matter for certain couples. The matter of dog custody during a separation can escalate into a highly contentious dispute. The complexity of deciding who receives custody of a terrier, collie, cocker spaniel, or any other dog may further intensify if a child has formed a strong bond with the family pet or another beloved animal.
Our primary objective is to determine if the parties can independently resolve these matters. This approach is often preferred and commonly attempted by parties when seeking to establish joint custody. We can provide assistance in creating visitation agreements or even joint custody contracts that clearly outline the rights and responsibilities of everyone involved. However, there are instances where circumstances change, misunderstandings arise, animosity develops, and one party ceases to honor the agreed-upon arrangement, regardless of whether it was documented. In such cases, legal intervention becomes necessary, and our clients benefit from our past experiences in similar cases when we have to resort to court proceedings.
Each case is unique, and we pay close attention to the timing of events. When did this once jointly-owned pet become solely yours? Or when did it become solely theirs? Courts often face challenges in identifying the most crucial factual and legal issues at hand, and our expertise aids in guiding the court's understanding. For example, although pets are legally considered personal property, we can argue for the consideration of what is in the best interest of the dog or cat.
ISSUES TO CONSIDER IN A PET CUSTODY AGREEMENT:
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