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The Right Lawyers Make a Difference

This divorce issue might loom large, and it’s barking

Some New Jersey divorces turn out to be relatively quick and simple affairs.

Many others, of course, are anything but that, being marked by multiple challenges that take real effort to resolve and move past.

We prominently note that on our website at The Law Office of Rajeh A. Saadeh in Somerville. Our experienced family law firm has been representing individuals and families with passion and proven commitment for years. In doing so, we readily acknowledge the “complex and important issues” that our valued clients face, which can truly span an impressive array of concerns.

Including dogs and cats.

And horses and birds and rabbits and pet pigs and, well, ad nauseam.

We know that our readers get the point. Legions of American families are flatly in love with the cherished animals that reside with them, and considerable turmoil can arise when important decisions loom regarding those precious companions in a divorce proceeding.

How does a judge overseeing a divorce typically look at a family-pet issue when it assumes prominence in the dissolution process?

Historically, it has been the norm across the country for family law courts to simply regard pets as property and not devote too much attention to how things turn out concerning them. It might sound callous, but loved animals are sometimes viewed as nothing other than personal property, much like a furnishing or car.

Things are changing, though. One recent article discussing divorce outcomes relevant to pets cites “a trend in the law to enact legislation that would treat pets more like children in a divorce.”

That hardly means that a judge in a given case will be willing to devote considerable time and effort to things like a dog’s best interests and the details of a parenting-type plan. Increasingly, though, courts are showing an inclination to spend a bit more time on that issue than was commonly the case in former years.

The aforementioned article makes an obvious point, namely, that a divorcing couple should try hard to resolve pet-linked issues before seeking court involvement. A proven divorce attorney can help with that, as well as provide counsel concerning state law that might guide the process.