Owning a dog is a very special experience. In fact, a lot of people in Alabama think of their pets as members of the family. This kind of emotional attachment is unique and special, but it also makes divorce much more complicated, especially when it comes to property division. Few people realize that their dog will be lumped into the process alongside other property like cars and even furniture.

Around 65% of households in America have at least one kind of pet, and the law has not quite caught up with how owners think of their four-legged friends. And as the birth rate slows down, millennials own more pets than any other generation combined. The majority of them say that their pets are “fur babies” and worth stepping away from a job for. There are even two million pets currently covered by insurance.

But none of this means that courts are equipped to handle pet custody disputes. One out-of-state man even spent years fighting for access to two dogs that his wife had kept during their divorce. A judge eventually agreed that he could take the dogs for two days a week. In another situation, a woman who was fighting for custody of her cats was actually sent to jail when she refused to hand them over to her ex-spouse.

Disputes like this do not always have to land in court. In fact, even though their marriages did not work out, many Alabama couples can create pet custody arrangements on their own and do not even think about pets during property division. However, even when trying to keep things outside of the courtroom, a lot of people find it helpful to have the support and guidance from an experienced attorney.

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