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Baltimore County Family Law Attorney Blog

Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discuses Spousal Support For Pet Care

Written by Amar Weisman » January 29, 2016 »

We hear quite a bit about the difficulties some couples have after they’ve made the decision to end their relationship by separating or divorcing. There is often a great debate (particularly when a couple has been together for a long time) over who will get what marital property and/or who will get custody of the children (if any). But what about the family pet?

Divorce lawyers in Towson will tell you that many divorcing couples in Maryland face a difficult decision when it comes to who will take the family pet. Legally, the pet will be considered property, which means if the issue is brought before a judge, the decision will likely be based on certain factors, such as who bought the pet, as well as who takes care of the pet physically and financially. This is different from the “best interest” standard that is typically used when it comes to children.

The pet issue was recently brought to light when actress Mandy Moore sought to receive pet support from her ex, Ryan Adams, as part of their divorce settlement. The couple shared a total of eight pets and Moore claimed that she could not properly take care of the pets without spousal support from Adams. According to court documents, Adams earned a little over $150,000 per month; however, Moore made significantly less than that each month.

That being the case, Moore requested $37,000 in monthly spousal support. Additionally, Moore asked to immediately take custody of four of the pets. She further noted that, in order to care for the pets, she has had to occasionally miss work because no one else was available to help.

Can You Really Get Support for Pet Care?

Most people probably think the whole conversation is silly and a waste of time. Still, parting couples must remember that judges treat each divorce differently, as every couple has unique situations. Judges take each case individually and they make their decisions objectively. That said, if an individual like Moore can effectively argue that he or she should be granted the support requested, it is very possible that the judge may agree.

How Can You Avoid a Pet Dispute in the First Place?

In the same way some attorneys suggest couples have a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, couples who share pets may want to consider drafting a “love” contract that specifically discusses what will happen with any shared pets in the event of a break-up. While it is recommended that the couple attempt to reach a decision with respect to the pets on their own, it is always a good idea to seek legal guidance and counsel from a skilled Cockeysville family law firm.

If you work with an attorney, he or she can draft an agreement that can cover issues such as custody and care of the pets in the event of a split. For some who are forced to deal with such issues, they may be able to reach an amicable decision with respect to custody and visitation of the pet.

Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free Consultation. The Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.