There was a fluff piece on The Today Show concerning people, their pets and divorce. Even Matt Lauer admitted that he and an ex had divided custody of their shared pet. Americans treated their pets as members of the family and not as possessions, so when couples split, custody battles ensue over who should get the family pet. In most jurisdictions, pets are seen as property, and often times a judge will not make decisions about custody. However, more and more people are interested in getting legislation passed that would set forth the issue of who gets the pet as a custody issue, much like child custody issues. What's next pet support? While I'm sympathetic to the pet lover's plight, I feel creating legislation that treats pets as anything other than property could get us going down a slippery slope. In most instances when I have clients who are dealing with pet custody issues, I tell them to work it out, because I don't necessarily want to bring the issue before a busy judge who may have little patience to decide on such an issue.
If you would like to view The Today Show segment about Fighting of Fido, see: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/19803536/