Wednesday, January 25, 2017
In case of Divorce, Pets Will Be Treated Like Children in Alaska Courts
Divorce between husband and wife can be convoluted and it can affect the whole family and it almost always end up in a fight on who gets what house, children, TV, and pets. A lot of times pet lovers are asking, can you consider your pet to be your child? However, in law, animals are treated as property. So although pet custody battles are often passionate and ugly courts consider pets as part of the “property distribution” in a divorce.
In Alaska they have amended their divorce statutes that took effect last week, which is trending in the world of animal law. It makes Alaska the first state in the U.S. to require courts to take “into consideration the well-being of the animal” and to explicitly empower judges to assign joint custody of pets. In a blog post, the Animal Legal Defense Fund called the well-being provision “groundbreaking and unique.”
“It is significant,” said David Favre, a Michigan State University law professor who specializes in animal law. “For the first time, a state has specifically said that a companion animal has visibility in a divorce proceeding beyond that of property — that the court may award custody on the basis of what is best for the dog, not the human owners.”
Unfortunately for fish lovers, law does not include it.