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Rover: Pet Custody In Divorce

The Custody of “Rover” the Dog.

Yes, even the dog pays the price in divorce.

Every experienced divorce attorney has had the conversation with a client about custody of the beloved family dog, affectionately named “Rover” in this post. In the times of high emotion and stress that often accompany a divorce, the unconditional love given by a pet may make all the difference.

Sometimes, this makes the dog a focal point in the divorce. In Indiana, pets are property, and there is no application of the child-custody law. All of the fighting ends in the same place, a court setting over the piece of property — yes, the dog — to one party. In fact, the value of a pet is the replacement value, as with any other property.

This may put the spouse who loves the dog more in a terrible position; he or she may have to “buy” the dog by trading unequally-valued property for the pet. This is a serious matter. The short-term emotional toll of losing custody (possession) of the dog may cloud your future financial well-being. Your divorce lawyer’s duty is to try to help you avoid this mistake, or at least provide a voice of reason as a counterbalance.

A legal point that should not be overlooked is that the parties may agree to terms that a trial court could not order. For this reason, it is not uncommon to have a divorce resolve this issue with an agreement containing elaborate custody and visitation provisions for the dog, including its future medical care. However, in the event that a party does not adhere to its provisions, it is doubtful that a court could effectively enforce it.


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Dixon & Moseley, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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Based in Indianapolis and founded in 1995, Dixon & Moseley, P.C. is a niche law firm focused on successfully dealing with the complexities of divorce, high-conflict child custody and family law. Known for their ability to solve extremely complex situations with high quality work and responsiveness, Dixon & Moseley, P.C. will guide you every step of the way. The family law attorneys at Dixon & Moseley, P.C. will help you precisely identify your objectives and the means to reach your desired result. Life is uncertain. Be certain of your counsel. Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys, Dixon & Moseley, P.C.

Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys, Dixon & Moseley, P.C. of Indianapolis, Indiana, offers legal services for Indianapolis, Zionsville, Noblesville, Carmel, Avon, Anderson, Danville, Greenwood, Brownsburg, Geist, Fortville, McCordsville, Muncie, Greenfield, Westfield, Fort Wayne, Fishers, Bloomington, Lafayette, Marion County, Hamilton County, Hendricks County, Allen County, Delaware County, Morgan County, Hendricks County, Boone County, Vigo County, Johnson County, Hancock County, and Tippecanoe County, Indiana.