If you live in Alaska, then this is now a possibility for parties going through a divorce. A recent amendment to Alaska’s divorce statues, requires Judges to consider the well-being of an animal, just as they do children, into consideration, when making a determination whose custody the pet shall remain in and who/when shall have visitation with the animal.
Alaska is the first state to implement this type of law and move beyond the notion that an animal is just another type of property a couple has that needs to be valued and proportioned. The common issue with this is, how do you put a value on a companion pet?
In Alaska now, the issues of custody, visitation and monetary support for a pet can be determined. To many people, pets are viewed as another member of the family, hence the push for them to be treated as such in a divorce. Other animal right activists are pushing for this in other states as well.
The Alaska bill also allows court to include pets in domestic violence protective orders; this is the first I have heard of a state doing this. It will be interesting to see how other states adapt their laws to include and account for pets in a divorce.