Family dog Rufus can be a point of contention during divorce

In New Jersey and across the country, nearly 70 percent of households own pets. Thus, the fact that spouses fight over pets during divorce proceedings is likely not surprising. A few tips may help with navigating a divorce proceeding involving a pet.

In the eyes of the family law court, even though Rufus may be a treasured loved one in the family, the pet is actually property. In other words, it is lumped in with furniture and cars during the property division process. Still, that has not stopped some couples from approaching their fur babies with the same type of custody mindset they would have for their children.

For instance, both parties may both want to keep the dog following their divorce. To satisfy both sides, they could come up with a joint custody agreement declaring that the dog would spend a week with one owner and the next week with the other party. In this way, both parties can share in the expenses associated with caring for the dog, and they both get to enjoy time with the dog equally.

In the same way, coming up with an agreement on the division of other types of property, such as the marital home or retirement funds, can benefit both sides and ultimately make any necessary post-divorce interactions more amicable. However, informal negotiations may not always lead to a mutually satisfactory outcome, in which case the parties will have no choice but to go to court to resolve their property division issues. In both scenarios, an attorney in New Jersey will push for the most favorable outcome for the client and ensure that his or her rights are fully protected during the divorce process.

Source:, "You won't believe how people battle over their dogs in a divorce", Alisa Wolfson, Feb. 24, 2018

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