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Fighting over cats and dogs; changes in some divorce battles

Gone are the days when the family dog was tied to a tree in the backyard and slept in a drafty doghouse no matter the season. Now, family pets are cherished members in many Georgia households. For that reason, the issue of pet custody is playing a bigger role in divorce proceedings.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there is an estimated 179 million companion dogs and cats residing in the nation's homes. Pets have often taken on the role of a couple's offspring, especially when there are no children in the marriage. As a result, people have become quite attached to their four-footed companions and are becoming increasingly more likely to go to court to fight for custody.

Moreover, there has been a new trend to include pets in a prenuptial agreement. The section that spells out such things as custody, visitation and financial responsibility has been dubbed the "pre-pup" clause. A recent case that was settled in another state has led to many courts allowing for a day to be set aside in order to determine which spouse should be awarded primary custody in keeping with the pet's best interest.

Animals certainly play an important role in the lives of many pet owners. Once a couple has decided to seek a divorce, the companionship provided by a furry, non-judgmental presence may aid in helping one get through the emotional ups and downs that can follow after a marriage ends. Indeed, the process of working through all of the aspects of a divorce can be overwhelming at times, and either one or both of the partners may benefit from additional guidance that can be obtained from various resources located throughout Georgia.

Source: archive.pnj.com, "Pets increasingly at center of divorce battles", Cameron Saucier, Aug. 24, 2014

Source: archive.pnj.com, "Pets increasingly at center of divorce battles", Cameron Saucier, Aug. 24, 2014

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