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Property division agreements in Missouri can involve pets

When it comes to splitting marital property, there may be much more at stake beyond who gets the china. There are an increasing number of cases where the fate of a family pet is being disputed and becoming a vital part of a property agreement. Despite the importance of pets in Missouri families, they are legally regarded as property and still treated as such, even though judges and courts are beginning to change that stance in individual cases dealing with property division.

There have been cases where the fate of a pet is decided much like custody of a child. For example, one couple fought over custody of a dog. Shared custody of the dog was eventually granted, and it was referred to as shared possession. The shared experience went on for years, and one party reflected on how difficult it was for family members to do the actual exchange of the pet.

Another case that was noted and shows the importance of a pet in a divorce involved a cat. The wife wanted the cat, and the husband had the cat. The emotional attachment to the cat was basically used as a means of negotiating more visitation with the child the couple had between them.

Missouri property division agreements are as unique as the couples involved. It is not unusual for sentimental or beloved shared property to be used in negotiations between a couple. When that property is a pet, the attachment of both parties may need to be legally addressed and a shared possession situation may be the best option for that individual couple.

Source: northjersey.com, "All's fair in love and war and pet custody battles", John Petrick, Sept. 1, 2015

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