Anyone who owns a dog, cat or other pet understands that these creatures are family, not property. They are like children — dependent on you for food, shelter, love and protection. Unfortunately, in the eyes of the law, they are property and, as such, treated no differently than a chair, table or piece of real estate.
A family law judge will typically not issue an order of support for the animal, nor will he or she typically award custody or visitation rights. However, under the collaborative law process, you can work with each other to tailor an agreement that will provide for a care, custody and visitation schedule for your pet.
The collaborative law process, unlike divorce litigation, is based on fostering collaboration to work out differences and find solutions everyone can live with, rather than an adverse proceeding that is based on confrontation and fosters animosity toward each other.
Just as collaborative law is recommended in many divorces involving children, the same principle applies to your pet. Utilizing the collaborative law process in a divorce where there are issues or disputes involving a family pet, you can customize a solution that will be acceptable to both parties and deal with issues involving:
- Decisions about your pet (whether to seek medical treatment, euthanasia, kenneling and choice of veterinarian)
- Pet time (custody and visitation), as well as logistics regarding transportation for pickup and drop-off
- Support (who will be responsible for food, medical bills, kenneling, etc.)
Pets are family. Make sure they are treated that way in a divorce. Talk to an experienced family law and divorce lawyer about utilizing the collaborative law process to make sure you (rather than a judge) make the decisions regarding your pet.
At Joanne E. Kleiner & Associates, Ms. Kleiner brings more than 25 years of experience in family law and divorce to the table. She is uniquely qualified to help you understand your options, properly advise you and help you achieve your goals. To discuss your divorce or family law matter in confidence with an experienced lawyer, please call Ms. Kleiner at 215-886-1266, or fill out our online intake form.
Joanne E. Kleiner & Associates has extensive experience with all areas of Pennsylvania family and divorce law, including collaborative law and traditional divorce litigation, and we handle cases throughout Montgomery, Bucks and Philadelphia counties, as well as the rest of southeastern Pennsylvania.