Pets are children too. At least this is the case in many Pennsylvania households. Although pets are still treated as a part of the property division process in this state, they are often considered to be a part of the family and can become an area of controversy when the couple decides to divorce.
In families without children, the pet often acts as a surrogate child. Both "parents" dote on the pet and cater to its every whim. In fact, there is often a competition to see who can get the pet to play or snuggle with each individual.
In families with children, the pet is often treated as one of the children. He or she has his or her own space, the family makes sure that play time happens and the pet even receives birthday and Christmas presents. Often, the children become just as attached, if not more so, than the parents.
So, when the Pennsylvania couple decides the marriage is over, who the pet will live with can become an important consideration to each individual. In determining which party should keep the pet, a number of factors may need to be considered. Among these factors are such things as who regularly takes care of the pet, makes sure that it has food and water, takes it for walks, takes it to the vet and more. Additionally, if children are involved, the pet often would prefer to be with the children.
Divorce is often an unsettling time for all involved. This can be especially true for animals who are treated as a part of the family. However, by working together to make sure that the pet remains in a stable, loving environment, the transition can be a smooth one. Experienced legal counsel can be invaluable in making this happen.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "New state law treats pets more like children in custody cases", Leonor Vivanco-Prengaman, Dec. 25, 2017