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Deciding pet custody during divorce is a challenging business

When couples in South Carolina decide to go their separate ways, they often have a lot of things to sort out. They will need to make child custody arrangements and figure out whether either of them needs to pay child support. They will also have to divide their marital property and assets. However, one part of this division of assets that can cause particular distress and disagreement is deciding on who will keep any pets.

Currently, pets are considered property for the purpose of divorce settlements. However, this does not stop people attempting to reach a custody agreement in the courts. For example, one couple in Vermont sought a decision over their dog, the only part of their divorce proceedings on which they were unable to agree. However, it was decided that family courts could not be expected to enforce shared custody arrangements for pets and the Supreme Court upheld the ruling.

The judge ultimately decided to award the dog to the owner she considered would offer the best care. Although she felt either of the pair could provide a happy, healthy home for the dog, she awarded the animal to the husband. This decision stemmed from the fact that the dog was used to accompanying the husband to work and the husband appeared to have a more balanced attitude toward it.

Although this dispute happened in another state, couples in South Carolina can empathize, particularly if they own pets themselves. It is uncertain when or if there will be a change in the way pets are viewed in divorce disputes, but it is easy to understand why debates over this matter can become so heated. If you are struggling with any aspect of your divorce settlement, an attorney may be able to help you through it. With the right guidance, you can increase your chances of reaching a fair and favorable agreement with your former partner.

Source: Seven Days, "Pet Custody Can Dog Vermont Divorces," Ken Picard, June 25, 2014

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