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Maryland pet owners facing a divorce: Who gets the pet?

Most people who own pets usually view them as an intricate part of their family. Just as a child deserves to have a stable and loving home, a pet also deserves to have a suitable arrangement during and after the divorce process. Many Maryland couples considering a divorce must decide which party will keep the animal after the divorce is finalized

Quite often, the pet is considered property. Several factors can come into play when determining which spouse will receive the animal such as if the animal was brought into the marriage or purchased/adopted by the couple. While pet owners may disagree about these issues, many others are able to resolve any problems through negotiation and compromise.

More judges these days actually take into consideration who can give the animal the best attention before determining the appropriate custodial spouse. There are actually some reported cases where the pet was treated akin to an actual child of the marriage. The judges in these cases ordered visitation and pet support for the determination of custody fairness.

Any Maryland pet owner going through a divorce may wish to gather all relevant information regarding the pet in order to present it to the court, if necessary. While a person can't be sure a judge will side with them, understanding what to expect and what they are entitled to within the applicable laws can help a person have realistic expectations as they move forward. Although this can be an emotional time, with the proper knowledge and understanding, a person can be certain they have done all they can to properly care for their pet and achieve a fair settlement of any lingering issues.

Source: Huffington Post, Who Gets the Family Dog After Divorce?, Nancy Kay, Nov. 10, 2013

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