Attorney Katherine Kraus

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Unquestionably, pets’ welfare can complicate a divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2018 | Divorce

Divorce-linked property division can entail some real complexity in a given Arizona divorce. Many separating couples – especially those with long-tenured marriages – understandably amass a considerable amount of assets, as well as various types of property. It is not a rarity for asset division to focus on a home, automobiles, additional realty holdings, investment/savings accounts, jewelry, artwork, memorabilia collections and more.

The “more” element can sometimes rise to the forefront of concerns and elicit considerable passion among family members.

Fido or Tabby will do that.

In fact, pets in legions of homes in Arizona and nationally are flatly cherished by the humans who interact with them. A commentator in a recent article spotlighting divorces featuring pet-related issues duly notes that. She stresses a point that we know our readers already find obvious, namely, that “The intensity people can invest in a pet is phenomenal.”

That passion and deep attachment is not diminished in the divorce process. In fact, it often intensifies and can even spill over into conflict. Who gets the dog? Who doesn’t? And why?

Courts typically don’t want to spend much time on animal-linked outcomes in divorce. Understandably, judges are busy people. Historically, pets have simply been linked together with other “items” construed as property. In Arizona, their fate is tied to the state’s community property laws.

The above article notes a legal trend that is tweaking judicial involvement in pet-and-divorce matters, though, and bringing about pet outcomes that are informed by best-interest analyses that guide custody outcomes concerning children.

That hardly means that a judge will typically be willing to spend hours poring over pet-owner history and evaluating arguments as to who is the better “parent” and why. What it does indicate, though, is courts’ recognition that the fate of pets is often a top-tier concern for divorcing parties and that flexible and creative outcomes can be reached.

A divorcing pet owner’s consultation with an experienced family law attorney can mark a good first step toward understanding relevant laws involved. Moreover, it can identify strategies that can be employed to promote the best interests of both humans and their beloved animal companions.

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