Heymann & Fletcher
800-481-8549

One state adds pet welfare to list of family legal issues

Many New Jersey residents are pet owners, and sincerely love their pets. When a divorce is underway, who will retain ownership of the pets is a concern for some spouses. While courts across the nation have declined to get involved in these types of disputes, one state is now ready to consider pet "custody" as one of many family legal issues that the courts will take into consideration during the course of a divorce.

New legislation was signed on Jan. 19, and states that family court judges can no longer treat pets as nothing more than personal property when deciding divorce cases. The welfare of the pets, as well as the well-being of the humans involved in the case, must be factored into any decision involving where the animals will live after a divorce. The law also allows for joint custody of a pet.

Another new law states that pets may be included in restraining orders, and allows victims of domestic violence to seek financial support for pet care from their partner. Those who support these changes claim that the new laws make it easier for pet owners to leave an abusive living situation. Research suggests that as many as 40 percent of domestic violence victims do not leave an abusive partner for fear that their pets will be subjected to harm or neglect.

This change -- in Alaska -- will likely lead to some interesting court cases in which spouses are unable to come to terms on pet ownership. The new laws could also lead other states, including New Jersey, to consider similar legislation surrounding family legal issues. That would come as a welcome change for many people who consider their pets as members of their family.  

Source: The Huffington Post, "In Alaska, Divorce Courts Must Now Consider Pet Wellbeing", Hilary Hanson, Jan. 26, 2017

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For a Response

How Can We Help?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Office Location:

Heymann & Fletcher
1201 Sussex Turnpike
Randolph, NJ 07869

Toll Free: 800-481-8549
Phone: 862-781-0029
Map & Directions

Heymann & Fletcher
Mailing Address
PO Box 518
Mount Freedom, NJ 07970

Toll Free: 800-481-8549
Phone: 862-781-0029