Earlier this year, much to my husband’s chagrin, we drove over an hour to Maryland to spend a Sunday afternoon at the home of a stranger. We left with our new four-legged baby- Nala Blu. More and more people choose to open their homes to rescue pets. I must admit, it is a pretty fulfilling feeling to know that you were able to save the life of an animal whose fate was once questionable. Our girl happened to be thrown into a cardboard box with her 8 brothers and sisters and left next to a dumpster in Tennessee.
This Sunday, April 30, just so happens to be “Adopt a Shelter Pet Day.” Each year, more than 3.2 million pets are rescued from shelters across the US. Each one comes with their own special story and leaves with their own special place in their new families’ hearts.
If you have ever had a pet, you know that almost immediately they become an integral part of your family, and are treated just like (or maybe even better!) than children. But what happens to our four-legged kids when a marriage falls apart? Some may find it hard to believe, but people do fight over their pets. And unfortunately, in 49 of the 50 states, courts will refuse to step in to help. In fact, the courts have labeled our beloved pets as nothing more than property. In its 2002 decision in DeSanctis v. Pritchard, the Pennsylvania Superior Court went so far as to equate a dog to a table or lamp. I can’t imagine that analogy won the hearts of those who read it.
Under Pennsylvania divorce law, personal property is distributed between the parties as the court sees fit after analyzing a list of factors. And because a pet is considered personal property, they will be lumped into the “equitable distribution” of all property. So if you want to keep your furry friend, you may have to give up that new big screen TV. Continue Reading Pet Custody in Pennsylvania