Custody Cases: They May Not Be Limited to Humans Anymore

Custody cases are among the most passion-igniting and contentious family court cases.

Historically, these cases have been confined to children … with two legs.

The only kind that have been recognized by the law of child custody in the US.

But the law tends to lag behind society.

And with declining birth rates, US society has embraced our four-legged pets as surrogate children.

Separating pet parents have been reaching pet custody and visitation agreements for a long time, both formal and informal.

But the traditional family law framework of pets is as personal property, to be assigned a fair market value as part of property division in divorce.

This legal framework just isn’t consonant with the role that pets play in many modern US families.

And so child custody law is poised to evolve in regards to this issue, as it has with respect to other issues in the realm of family law.

A handful of judges are looking beyond pets’ property values and dipping their judicial toes into the pet custodial waters of the best interests of the pets and which pet parent served as primary caregiver.

Pet parents are even starting to seek domestic violence restraining orders against their exes … to protect themselves and/or their pets.

For better or worse, deja vu. Full hearings are pending … unless the pet parents settle.

Certainly, the allegations being asserted bear more than a passing resemblance to those typically set forth in child custody proceedings.

Even – or is that especially? – celebrities are getting into the act.