I have seen an increasing number of my clients express concern about the family pets and who will get them. I recently had one case that involved four horses and six purebred dogs. The issue of who would get the animals consumed a large portion of the negotiations (and legal costs) before we reached final settlement. While there have been some strides regarding animal welfare and animal rights (restraining orders now call for protection of the family pets), there has not been much attention placed on the role of family pets in the family structure and how to distribute them when it comes to divorce. The following articles help identify the problem, possible solutions, and the law coming out of the California Court of Appeals by which we can start to craft some creative solutions that address the issue of what happens to the family pet when there is a dissolution.
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Maria E. Crabtree, CFLS