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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
Phone: (201) 467-4180
Fax: (201) 997-9567
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Including pets in your divorce's property division settlement

Pet lovers are likely to be horrified by the prospect of including pets in property division upon divorce, but it's that love that makes it necessary. It seems more and more people can't bear to completely part with the beloved animals who have become part of the family, so that means it's up to the courts to decide who gets the pets in divorce.

Naturally, courts don't want these issues gumming up the works, making the only sensible solution one that designates pets as marital property. As such, they must be included in the property division settlement if the divorcing parties cannot otherwise reach an agreement. A recent article in Parade Magazine online revealed that in a poll of 1500 matrimonial lawyers, almost a quarter of the respondents indicated an increase in pet custody issues.

The article also mentioned an alternative to property division for pets. Some divorcing couples or families are choosing to co-own their animals. This means dealing with the family pets in a similar way couples approach child custody. For instance, creating visitation schedules and deciding how to handle the pets' medical expenses.

Are there other alternatives instead of property division and co-ownership? Unfortunately, there are not many other than the obvious choice to sit down and hash the details out together. A lawyer Parade spoke with warned about the potential for disputes arising about who actually owns the pet, so it makes sense to find an equitable solution as early as possible.

Believe it or not, plenty of New Jersey attorneys would welcome the chance to help divorcing couples find a solution to their pet dilemmas. Lawyers all across America are accustomed to handling what others might consider odd elements of the property division process.

Source: Parade, "In a Divorce, Who Gets the Pets?" Michele C. Hollow, Aug. 18, 2014

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