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Pet Custody Laws - Who Gets Custody of the Pet?

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Comes now a new issue for the family courts to sort out, namely, pet custody disputes and pet custody laws. There is an increasing number of divorcing couples or separating partners fighting over who gets custody of their pet. For example, in 2004, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported a high-profile case of a couple in San Diego who fought for pet custody over their pointer-greyhound mix for two years during their divorce. Reportedly, Dr. Stanley and Linda Perkins spent more than $150, 000 in legal fees as a result of their dispute. Reportedly, the wife even showed the court a video entitled "Day in the Life of Gigi" showing Linda and the dog spending time together. In the end, Linda was awarded pet custody of their dog, Gigi. Another pet custody dispute example was reported between Hollywood star Anne Heche and estranged husband Coley Lafoon fighting over custody of their pet cat.

In most states, pet custody laws do not recognize pets in the same manner as it does children but rather treats pets as property. However, some courts have used the best interest of the pet analysis in awarding pet custody and ownership to the parent whose home is a better home for the pet when there is no clear indication of individual pet ownership. But don't be surprised if you soon see new pet custody laws treating pets like children as opposed to property. This can include pet parenting schedules, pet support, pet restraining orders and slew of new businesses such as pet custody evaluations, pet custody mediation and of course representation by pet custody attorneys.

Another question that is often asked in pet custody disputes is, "Can domestic violence and pet custody have an effect on one another?" The short answer is yes. An important factor in determining pet custody is where the children live. When children are involved in a divorce, the pet often remains in the home where the children live due to the children's attachment to the family pet. Because perpetrators of domestic violence generally do not get physical custody of the children, it is likely they will also not get custody of the pet as a result. In other words, the parent who is awarded custody of the children will likely be awarded custody of the pets.

© 2008 Child Custody Coach

Child Custody Coach supplies information, written materials, online materials, and coaching services to parents in the field of child custody, namely, divorce, child custody and visitation, divorce, child custody evaluations, parenting, and all child custody related issues. Custody Match is an online consumer and family law attorney matching service to help consumers find the right family law attorney, divorce lawyer, or child custody attorney in their area.

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