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Property division: Dachshund is center of pet custody battle

Property division during divorce proceedings can be difficult and emotional, but some believe nothing could get more heated than an argument over who gets to keep the family dogs. In fact, one out-of-state couple is gearing up to fight over their miniature dachshund in a matrimonial pet-custody case. These kinds of property division battles over one's pet are not uncommon in Arizona or the rest of the nation, and it is understandable. We certainly do love our dogs and other pets.

In this case, one spouse had given the dog to the other as a present. The spouse who was given the dog says that he sleeps next to her at night, is her angel and is her love. The woman even went as far as to claim that the tiny dachshund is her soul mate, and she could never continue in life without him.

The New York judge overseeing the case claims that it is surprising the state's law lags behind in this area of legislation -- especially considering how many people in the city own and love their dogs. In fact, the judge says that most people would refuse to trade in their pets, even if someone offered them $1 million. The judge has made the decision to schedule a specialized hearing for the purpose of determining the fate of the dog in this case.

While some states consider the family pet like it is a piece of property during property division proceedings, other states treat the pet as if it were a child. Indeed, in Arizona divorce cases that involve a dog, cat or other animal, the battle over who gets to keep it can be intense. Depending on the facts of the case and how and when the animal was acquired, one party to the divorce may have a stronger claim for custody rights over the animal than the other.

Source: New York Post, Landmark custody battle over dog in divorce, Julia Marsh, Dec. 4, 2013

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