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Fate of pets in question during divorce

Divorce can be contentious amongst any couple. There may be more to divide than anyone expects to have to deal with. As pet ownership is on the rise, the issue of pet custody has become important during divorce. Any Pennsylvania couples currently going through a divorce and struggling with what to do with the family pet should realize many others are going through the same thing.

Over two thirds of all households in the United States have pets. The amount of money spent on pets also has increased dramatically and is estimated in the billions nationwide. As many pets are treated like family members, having one person take that pet away can feel like a genuine loss. Also, there are cases where pets are being used as bargaining chips in a divorce.

Even though they may be members of the family, the courts can still treat pets like property. Before a couple irons out the details or disputes where a pet may end up, there are things they should consider. Vet bills can add up and couples should think about how to split that responsibility or costs. Pet health issues during the relationship may indicate a rise in health care cost as the pet gets older.

If a Pennsylvania couple wishes to share custody of a pet, or one party willingly gives up any affiliation with the pet, that aspect of a divorce can be smooth. However, mediation may be needed if there is a disagreement over who should have the pet. As with any part of a divorce, when the couple involved is able to communicate their needs and knows their rights, they may find the process less disruptive all around.

Source: Newsweek, Divorce, Doggy Style, Katya Cengel, Nov. 23, 2013

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