Pets Rights in a Divorce, Now at Least in Alaska

Pets Rights in a Divorce
Currently, in Rhode Island courts and across the United States, a family court Judge can choose to consider pet wellbeing in a divorce case. In January, Governor Bill Walker signed legislation in Alaska and became the first state to add an amendment to the state's divorce laws giving major implications for animal welfare. The amendment gives pets rights in divorce and other cases.

Rhode Island divorce cases generally will consider animals as property. Just as they consider furniture or vehicles. Under this new amendment in Alaska, couples can now have legal joint custody of a pet. And such decisions to award custody are based on the wellbeing of the animal.

Domestic Abuse Protection for Pets

In addition to this, Alaska law now protects pets in domestic violence cases. In a restraining order, courts have the right to now include the animals. The courts would then require the abusers to pay support to their victims.

These progressive amendments giving pets rights in divorce and other cases have given food for thought to other states including divorce lawyers in Rhode Island. “Pets are truly members of our families. We care for them as more than just property. As such, the courts should grant them mores considerations”, stated Rep Liz Vasquez, who sponsored the bill. And so pets' rights in divorce may happen soon.

Otherwise Treated as Property

Traditionally pets are simply treated as personal property such as the furniture in your house. Now, if pets are given rights and schedules for “parenting time” set up, would the courts next begin establishing holiday schedules? And would mental illness or medical marijuana issues affect custody, as they now can for children?

Source: Huffington Post, “In Alaska, Divorce Courts Must Now Consider Pet Wellbeing” 1/26/17

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