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New State Amendment Will Treat Pets As Children In Divorce Court

| Published on January 25, 2017

When people get divorced, there’s a division of assets, and if applicable, a custody agreement made for the children. But where do pets fit in?

As of January 17, 2017, courts in Alaska will begin granting custody of pets when their humans divorce. In terms of divorce court, four-legged family members are traditionally classified as “property.”

Unlike kids, pets don’t need an education, a wardrobe of clothes, or lessons on growing up. However, they do need good nutrition, a clean, safe environment, exercise, and love.

It’s not surprising that in many cases, couples who no longer want to live with each other have a hard time deciding (and arguing over) who gets to “keep” their furry companions. Sometimes, there’s one pet parent who can provide better full-time care. Other times, couples need to decide, in court, an arrangement that works for joint custody.

This new amendment, “makes Alaska the first state in the country to require courts to take ‘into consideration the well-being of the animal’ and to explicitly empower judges to assign joint custody of pets,” explains New York Magazine.

What do you think – should all courts treat pets as “children” rather than “property” in matters of divorce? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

(h/t: New York Magazine)

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