Divorce not only impacts the human members of our families, but that of our beloved pets’ lives as well. Ask any Family Law Attorney and they can tell you a story about a divorce that dragged on for years over the custody of a family pet, even after all the marital asset issues had been settled. Harrisburg has now begun the process to recognize our emotional attachment to our non-human family-members by proposing a new legislation.
When people think of custody, most think of children. This may soon change, as a bipartisan bill, House Bill No. 1652, was introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives this past summer. This Bill is still being considered at the Judiciary Committee, but if it becomes law, the Pennsylvania Domestic Relations statutes will include criteria on how to determine the “custody” for pets during the proceedings of a divorce. Court officers and Judges will be able to decide to whom our “companion animals” should be awarded while settling a divorce action by weight of several factors in creating a decision.