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Go Into a Pet Custody Battle Fully Armed

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dog playing tug-of-warDetermining who gets custody over a family pet can be one of the most heart-wrenching experiences (besides child custody) during a separation or divorce.

Most of us consider our companion animals to be family members.   However, the law sees animals as property, which means that you need to prove that you and your family pet should stay together.

Working with an animal law lawyer will help give you the best chance of keeping your companion animal.

As an animal law lawyer, creating a strategy to keep the beloved animal with a client relies on a couple different things. Be prepared go into a pet custody battle fully armed with evidence that you deserve to be the primary caregiver of your furry companion.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has some insight on what you should have ready to win your pet custody case.

One of the first things that the court will look for is adoption and license papers.  It is a big point in your favor if the adoption contract and license are in your name. If not, you’ll need an explanation – such as the fact that the animal was a gift or is jointly owned.  You can also bring up other evidence to show that you are the one who has been taking care of your dog or cat.  Paying for veterinary bills, training classes, food, toys, and more will support your case. These receipts will show that you have been the one that has been habitually taking care of your dogor cat.

If you are battling over child custody as well, you may be able to argue that the family pet is better staying with your child. Having the two together will relieve stress during this overwhelming time of changes. Animals, like humans, do not react well to major changes.

On the practical side, understand that it is common for animals to become stressed during a divorce or custody battle. If your companion has begun to eat less, sleep more, and lose interest in his/her favorite activities, try to argue less in the house and be sure to give extra love and kisses.  Remember that the family pet should always stick to their routine and remain with the owner that has bonded the most with them. Going through a pet custody case is hard on everybody, and you don’t want anyone to feel more pain than they have to.

If you are struggling with an animal custody case, contact an experienced animal law attorney today. The Law Office of Heidi Meinzer, PLLC will represent you with the strongest case possible to try to keep you with your loving companion.


Photo Credit: Kitenutuk via Compfight cc

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About Heidi Meinzer

Heidi is an attorney and animal lover, not necessarily in that order. She handles small business, animal law, and nonprofit legal issues. She is licensed to practice in Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Washington State. Heidi is also a certified dog trainer. Heidi Meinzer's Google+ Profile