In the ‘olden days’ (which basically means all days before today!) custody cases were limited to children–as in, human children. But these days far fewer couples have kids while more and more couples have pets. Dogs and cats have become children for millions of couples. And when ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ break up and file for divorce, custody is not about who gets Susie or Jack but about who gets Fido and Fluffy. Pet custody is no longer an oddity dealt with only in Hollywood divorces but a common occurrence. Welcome to the New Normal.
It’s estimated that 80 million US households have dogs and 96 million households have cats. And since about 1 million couples divorce every year, it was bound to happen that a new law (Alaska) would require divorce judges to consider the well-being of pets in deciding which spouse gets custody.
Whether you think this is nuts or normal may depend on whether you’re a dog or cat person or have been through a divorce or custody case. In any event, laws demanding that judges consider the best interests of our furry friends is a sign of the times and believe it or not, are likely to become law in all states across the US.
Nuts or normal? What do you think??
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The age-old question in divorce remains the same: “What’s fair?” Naturally spouses rarely agree on what each should get in a divorce. Everyone has their own reasons…many many many reasons…for why they deserve more than the other. These days courts start with the presumption that everything should be split 50-50. But should there be times that each spouse doesn’t receive the same amount? When is an unequal split ‘fair’??
Most people say there are many factors that should come into play. If you were the judge deciding a divorce case, what would you take into consideration to reach a fair outcome? What would it depend on? Would it matter if one spouse earned most or all of the money and the other earned little or no money? Would you want to know the ages of the spouses? Would you care if the couple had children? Would it matter if a spouse had cheated?
The Court in a very high profile case known as the Randy and Mandy Work divorce (yes, the couple’s last name is Work and yes, he’s Randy and she’s Mandy) was faced with these facts:
The Works had been married 20 years and are in their 40’s. They have two teenage children. Mandy was a homemaker.
Randy was employed and earned $170Million. Mandy had not been employed outside the home. Mandy cheated on Randy. Now you tell me, what’s fair? Should the husband and wife each get the same amount?
Tweet me your thoughts @pekalalaw.com.