Divorce settlements: What about the dog?

Ken Altshuler, the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), confidently makes one prediction about the future: Someday judges in all states, including Georgia, will have recourse to written statutory guidelines to help them decide pet custody issues in divorces.

That might sound a bit far-fetched to some people, but nowhere near as outlandish as it would have seemed a generation and more ago. Pets have never been judicially considered in any jurisdiction as anything more than property, but that is changing, with dogs, cats and other animals increasingly figuring into divorce proceedings and outcomes.

‘There is a shifting consciousness,” says one legal practitioner who estimates his cases involving pet custody have grown by about 15 percent in recent years.

“Judges are viewing them more akin to children than dining room sets,” adds Altshuler. “They are recognizing that people have an emotional attachment to their animals.”

In an AAML survey a few years back, a full quarter of respondents stated that they had seen pet custody cases increase measurably over time.

Still, divorcing couples have to work things out for themselves, and some do so to a truly impressive degree, with details finely spelled out concerning custody arrangements, visitation, holiday and vacation schedules, vet care and various expenses. The latter element can include breakdowns for day care, food, treats, grooming and even end-of-life decisions.

Altshuler says the trend toward animals being explicitly acknowledged and provided for in divorce settlements is firmly established and will only pick up steam, given Americans’ attachment to their pets.

Source: ABC News, “Divorce lawyers: Pet custody cases increasing,” Sue Manning, Feb. 28, 2012

How The Siemon Law Firm Can Help

Contact our Georgia Family Law Firm by calling 770-888-5120 or by completing this contact form.

An attorney will respond within 24 business hours.

    Fields marked with an * are required

    I Have Read The Disclaimer *

    Our Office Locations

    Map of office locations

    Cumming, Georgia

    347 Dahlonega Street
    Building 100
    Cumming, GA 30040 770-888-5120 Cumming Law Office Map

    Marietta, Georgia

    One Parkway Center
    1850 Parkway Place, Suite 715
    Marietta, GA 30067 770-888-5312 Marietta Law Office Map

    Alpharetta, Georgia

    4555 Mansell Road
    Suite 300
    Alpharetta, GA 30022 770-888-5093 Alpharetta Law Office Map

    Atlanta, Georgia

    3400 Peachtree Rd NE
    Suite 555
    Atlanta, GA 30326 770-888-5078 Atlanta Law Office Map