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Property division involving pets can cause conflict

The thought of breaking up with a spouse is painful enough without thinking about losing a pet in the process. This is why property division involving pets can become a major area of contention during divorce, whether in Montana or another jurisdiction. In many cases, even though pets are viewed as property by the court, divorcing couples treat them more like children when working out how they will be handled following divorce.

If both spouses are emotionally connected to their dog, for instance, they have the option of putting together a joint custody agreement detailing who will get to keep the dog and when. For instance, maybe one spouse can keep Max for the first half of the month, and the other party can have him for the second half. As an alternative, one person may decide to keep the dog and then allow the other party to have visits with the dog.

However, the smoothest way of facilitating divorce property division when dealing with a pet is to have a prenuptial agreement in place that details what will happen. For instance, if individuals are getting ready to walk down the aisle and are bringing their dogs into their marriages, they may spell out in prenuptial agreements that the dogs will remain with the party who owned them before the wedding. In the same way, if a newlywed couple purchases a dog together, they make a postnuptial agreement that explains how their new property will be handled if a divorce occurs subsequently.

Property division can be complicated when dealing with money and real estate, but it can be just as challenging for those who value their dogs or other pets highly. An attorney in Montana can provide the guidance needed to make sure that a spouse's wishes are upheld during a divorce proceeding involving a pet. A lawyer can seek to negotiate a favorable result while protecting the client's rights at every stage of the proceedings. 

Source:, "You won't believe how people battle over their dogs in a divorce", Alisa Wolfson, Feb. 24, 2018

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