Finally some good news. Judges in Alaska must now consider the welfare of pets when couples are divorcing. Usually animals are dealt with as property, such as furniture, owned by the couple. The Alaskan judges must consider pets and their well-being as part of a divorce settlement. This means joint legal custody of the pet may become part of a couple's settlement agreement. Alaska also added another new amendment for pets in domestic violence cases. For pets in such cases, the court can include animals in a restraining order and require the abuser to pay support to the abused party for pet care. These amendments were added to Alaska's divorce laws on January 17.
This is groundbreaking news, people. Right now these laws are only in Alaska, but as time goes on, I'll bet the sentiment will spread like wildfire across the U.S. It's no secret that we love our cats and dogs, as much as we love our children. They are family members. There are approximately 80 million dogs and 80 million cats in the United States. Three out of five people in the U.S. own a pet. In Pennsylvania, sadly, animals are considered property the same as furniture. Well, when I go on vacation or leave for work each morning, I make sure my pets are safe, walked, fed and watched on a fairly constant basis. I take them to the veterinarian and give them love and affection. I feed them healthy food and give them exercise. These things don't happen with a couch.
If you are divorcing or considering divorcing in Pennsylvania, you can provide for your pets in a property settlement agreement. Speak with a family law attorney to learn more.