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More divorces involving pet custody issues

Washington couples getting divorced have many questions during the divorce process. From child custody arrangements to figuring out where you will live, the divorce process can be quite complex. For couples who have a family pet, the concerns over who will have custody of the beloved family dog or cat can only make the divorce process more stressful.

Pet custody disputes have increased among divorcing couples in the United States. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reported that more couples are fighting over who gets to keep the family pet, and more courts are listing pets as assets in divorce cases. The rise in pet custody cases during divorce may surprise some, but many attorneys believe pet custody cases will only increase in the future. 

Pets may be viewed as assets in your divorce. If this is the case, it can be helpful to understand how assets are divided during divorce to see how your pet custody case may be impacted. It is also helpful to know what other assets are considered marital property so you know how your finances may be impacted once the divorce has been finalized. 

Many spouses should consider sharing custody of a pet if they are both equally attached to the pet. However, it may be easier for you and your pet if only one spouse has custody of the pet but every case is unique. 

If you are getting divorced and are concerned about who will get custody of your family pet, you should discuss these concerns with a family law attorney. Understanding how pets are treated under Washington divorce laws can help you become prepared for divorce negotiations and what steps to take to get custody of your family pet. 

Source: The Huffington Post, "Fighting Over Cats and Dogs During a Divorce," Maria Cognetti, March 24, 2014

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