Monday, November 25, 2019
Written by Norman A. Green
You’re parting ways. You’ve agreed on who gets what, and the boxes packed. You’ve thought of everything right down to dividing up the soup spoons, and now it’s time to put your perfect plan into motion. But before you get your foot out the door, you grab Fido’s leash only to have your soon-to-be ex snatch it back.
“People have spent thousands of dollars in court costs over pet custody. Yet, the state of Florida does not regulate custody arrangements concerning animals. Whereas the couple may view their cat or dog as a family member, the court sees them as personal property,” said Norman A. Green, Senior Partner at Green, Metcalf, and Lazan P.A. of Vero Beach, FL.
Pet custody battles in other states have been resolved using some pretty unconventional techniques that are as varied as the judges themselves because there are no laws in place to guide them. In 2016, the state of Alaska made strides in resolving that issue by passing legislation that tied pet custody into existing child custody laws, using a similar standard of criteria.
“The rest of the country hasn’t caught up to Alaska just yet. It is up to the individuals to come to an agreement on how custody, and possibly visitation, of their pets will be decided. If an agreement can not be made between the parties, reach out to a family law attorney for help with mediation,” said Green.
Norman A. Green is the founder and a partner of Green, Metcalf & Lazan - Attorneys At Law. He has over 40 years of experience in the practice fields of criminal defense and family law (divorce, child custody, child support, paternity, modifications of existing orders, prenuptial agreements and alimony cases).