Pet Custody Battle

The marriage (or relationship, in this case) may be over, but the custody battle has just begun. Kids? Nope ... pets!

Who gets the dog, cat, horse or boa constrictor when the relationship ends?

That question has sparked some human catfights; pet custody disputes in divorce are a growing area of the law. In a 2006 survey of 1,600 members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a quarter said they had noticed an anecdotal uptick in pet-custody cases in the past five years.

You don't have to be married to get mired in a pet tug-of-war. Adam Karp, an animal rights lawyer in Bellingham, Washington, says most of the calls he fields are from singles in their 20s and 30s.

Even among the unmarried set, these battles can carry high stakes and high drama. Take, for instance, a Washington state case in 2004, when Karp represented Ashley Wilson, the music director of a Seattle rock station and the owner of a boxer named Marley.

When Wilson, who was in her mid-20s, broke up with her live-in boyfriend, Todd Templeton, the couple agreed on a joint-custody arrangement for the dog. Everything was fine until Wilson met someone else. Templeton "accused her of destroying the family and retaliated by hiding Marley," Karp says.

The case went to court and, although Wilson and Templeton were technically co-owners, the judge awarded custody to Wilson.

Link - Thanks Tiffany!

(Photo: Warren and Tracey Gamley)


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Divorce makes people crazy. Everyone. Both spouses, both lawyers, the judge, everybody.

My father was involved in a divorce in the 60s in St. Louis where everything was quite amicable, dividing up the property in a civil fashion, until they got to the one thing they both wanted more than anything. They got in to a knock-down, drag out fight over an antique ball peen hammer.
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