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Pets becoming sticking point in divorce proceedings

Missouri couples may have heard that pet custody is becoming an increasingly important matter for many who are going through the process of divorce. This may be due to several factors. Firstly, many couples are refraining from having children until later in life and opting for pets instead. Additionally, some pet parents are spending more money on their pets than ever before.

The law is not specific when it comes to pet custody. However, many judges and attorneys are beginning to take the bond between human and pet seriously. This can cause some issues, especially if one ex-spouse decides to take a pet hostage or harm the pet in order to hurt the other person. In a report, several attorneys stated that the ex-spouses of their clients withheld the animal in question for years or directly caused the death of the animal so their ex-spouse could not have them.

One way to avoid trouble is to claim the pet in a prenuptial agreement. This way, if the couple splits, the person who brought the pet into the marriage would be awarded the pet. If the pet is purchased after the couple is married, a postnuptial agreement can be drafted to ensure that the pet will be awarded to the spouse who either cares for the animal or has a bond with the animal.

A divorce can be an incredibly emotional experience, especially when pets are involved. An attorney may be able to help their client show a judge that they are the better pet owner or that the pet has a bond with them. If their client is awarded the pet but the ex-spouse refuses to hand them over, the attorney may be able to assist their client in filing paperwork in order to obtain the pet.

Source: The Daily Beast, "Divorce Is Going to the Dogs, Literally", Keli Goff, June 20, 2014

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