Divorces are emotional to begin with, and involving a pet as marital property to be split between two spouses can be used as retribution in particularly charged divorce cases.
Queens, NY (PRWEB) July 06, 2017
Child custody and alimony are common, established terms of the divorce process. But what about pets? Animals do not hold the same rights as children do in divorce cases, yet they also aren’t relegated to the same status as marital property. Queens divorce and family law attorney Bruce Feinstein, Esq. speaks with his clients about the unique – yet no less important – aspect of dealing with family pets in divorce cases.
In the past, courts treated pets as personal property in divorce cases in New York. But in recent years, animal advocates and politicians have started to shift the dialogue towards acting in the best interest of the animal, as is done in child custody cases. Courts around the country have sided with pets in awarding alimony payment to their owners and shared visitation between spouses. States such as Alaska have even gone so far as to allow the Court to consider a pet’s well-being in divorce proceedings, as cited in HB-147, "an Act relating to the costs of care of animals that have been seized; relating to the inclusion of animals in protective orders and crimes and arrests for violating those protective orders; and relating to the ownership of animals upon divorce or dissolution of marriage."
Considering the rights of a pet can be just as helpful to the humans involved in reducing extra conflict in divorces, explains Mr. Feinstein. “Divorces are emotional to begin with, and involving a pet as marital property to be split between two spouses can be used as retribution in particularly charged divorce cases.”
This new point of view uses a “best for all concerned” standard in addressing pets and where they should belong. As Mr. Feinstein notes, “Incorporating all aspects of child custody and visitation would be extreme for pets, but the ‘best for all concerned’ approach is able to discern several factors to determine the best next steps for pets and their families.”
Some of those factors include determining who is largely responsible for the care of the pet, and with whom the pet spends the most time. This provides the best standards of living for the animal, especially those who are older or in poor health. In looking at the best interests of the pet, courts can also see if shared custody is best, especially in cases where the animal would travel with children. “This not only helps the animal adjust to a new lifestyle, but it helps children adjust, too,” adds Mr. Feinstein. “Divorce is tough on children, and making the transition with a pet can make it much easier.”
In giving pets more consideration, New York divorce Courts are providing these animals more status in divorce cases. With that in mind, it is advisable for spouses seeking custody of a pet to work with an experienced divorce attorney to show the importance of their relationship, along with any potential impact a separation may cause.
The Law Offices of Bruce Feinstein has nearly two decades of experience in divorce and family law, helping clients and families resolve their issues and move forward with their lives. If you are thinking of getting married or divorced and want more information visit feinsteindivorcelaw.com or call (718) 475-6039 to reach the New York office.