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In divorce the parties should sacrifice for the good of the pets

The treatment of domestic pets during a breakup is frequently complicated due to our increasing sense of attachment to our faithful animal companions. Although the law in Connecticut and other states views them as mere pieces of property, many pet owners in a divorce are likely to demand custody of their favorite companions. In some cases, the wish will be granted, and in others it will be resisted. In a resistant case, the presiding judge has the last say, but his analysis will treat animals as items of property.

It's unrealistic to look to courts for complex orders regarding pets. The courts have little enough resources to handle the placement of humans. In a few cases, unlimited money may indeed be available to fuel outlandishly drawn-out litigation regarding pets. But these are rare, and the guiding principle in a divorce case is mutual sacrifice for good of the parties, the children and the pets.

Custody should generally go to the person best situated to pay for the care of the animals. Long-bonded animals should not be separated, and generally the pets should remain with the children. Those parting spouses who would dare to fight extensively and spend lavishly over the domestic animals are likely using the pets in a game of spite or one-upmanship.

Just as children should not be manipulated during or after a divorce case, so too should the parties cooperate in assuring the best interests of their helpless pets. Believe it or not, dogs and even cats can become depressed when dramatic change occurs or when a loving caretaker leaves the scene. They may begin to sleep a lot, lose normal energy levels, eat less, and groom incessantly. Other behavior problem may manifest.

Responsible pet owners in Connecticut always keep their domestic animals in good health by regular visits to the vet. When divorce does create a stressful time for pets, a conscientious caretaker will spend more time playing with them to keep them engaged and active. If the divorced former partners want to give visitation time with pets, it can be appropriate if the practice is void of ill feelings and game-playing.

Source: The Huffington Post, Who Gets The Pets In A Divorce? What You Need To Consider When Fighting Over Fido, Maria Moya, Jan. 19, 2014

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