These Divorce Courts Will Now Treat Pets Like Children

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Breaking up is hard to do, even without having to divvy up your shared earthly possessions, but a new amendment to Alaska’s divorce statuses set in motion last week is changing the way that divorcing couples will be able to lay claim to their pets, shifting animal friends to more of a family law context than a property law one.

Alaska now requires courts to take “into consideration the well-being of the animal,” according to The Washington Post, and gives judges the power to assign joint custody of pets, a move that the Animal Legal Defense Fund called “groundbreaking and unique” in a blog post on their site.

The Alaskan bill also gives courts the option to include pets in domestic violence protective orders and mandates that pet owners will need to pay for the cost of sheltering animals seized in cruelty or neglect cases.

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