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Pet "custody" a growing family law issue

Maryland couples who go through a divorce are often focused on the process of dividing marital assets. Aside from child custody matters, property division is one of the most important aspects of divorce. The ramifications can have a huge impact on each spouse's financial stability in the years to come. For some couples, however, struggles over which party will retain the family pet eclipse family law disputes over strictly monetary assets.

Many pet owners think of their animals as part of their immediate family. The risk that they might lose the ability to care for a beloved pet after a divorce is difficult to handle. In fact, family law attorneys report that more and more couples are choosing to address the issue with a prenuptial agreement, making it clear from the outset which party will retain the family pets.

This is an area of family law that is easily customizable. Couples can clearly state within the document that an individual who brought a pet into the marriage has the right to retain ownership of that pet in the event of a divorce. Additionally, it could also be stated that any pets acquired during the course of a marriage would be granted to the party who is primarily responsible for the animal's care.

Having a prenuptial agreement in place is the best way to ensure that assets are divided fairly in the event of a Maryland divorce. This is true for the family pet, as well as for money or real property gained through an inheritance, savings brought into a marriage or other forms of assets. This is an area of family law in which a truly customized solution can be achieved, giving both parties the peace of mind that comes with knowing that a level of security has been put into place, even if there is never a need to revisit the matter again.

Source: FOX 32 News Chicago, "Doggie prenups the latest divorce trend", , Sept. 3, 2014

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