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Death or Divorce and Your Companion Animal | PETA - The Los Angeles Times reported a “hundredfold increase” in the frequency of “pet-custody” cases between 1990 and 2005. In a landmark case in Maryland, a judge ordered a couple to split custody of their dog.
"In the event of a separation or divorce, each party’s ability to provide a loving, responsible home should be reviewed; the custodial guardian must be able to handle the expense and responsibility of caring for the animals, including providing exercise and paying for food and veterinary care. Some couples include support payments for the animal’s care in divorce settlements. This is often the case if a couple adopted the animal jointly and agree that they share guardianship. If the animal has bonded strongly with one of the parties, that factor should weigh heavily in the decision as well. A mediator can be helpful in this decision."