Divorce takes an emotional toll on all families. For over 60% of the households in the United States, that also includes their pets. While all courts are required to address custody matters involving children, most states are not required to handle custody of the parties’ other children: their pets. For example, Pennsylvania treats pets as any other piece of personal property. One of the parties will be assigned ownership rights of the pet, and the other person may receive money, the sofa or the flat screen TV in exchange. This of course seems harsh and inconsiderate to anyone who has ever owned a pet. However, the courts in these states have no obligation, and will rarely, if ever, set any type of visitation schedule for a pet. The courts in Pennsylvania go as far as to not even enforce a private agreement between parties setting a visitation schedule for their pet.
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