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Chicago, IL, February 12, 2014 – More than a quarter of the respondents to a recent survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) have noted an increase in pet custody cases during the past five years. Dogs fetched the top spot as the most disputed family animal with a clear majority of 88% while cats scratched to a distant second with a 5% total. In addition, 22% of the attorneys have said that courts are more frequently allowing pet custody cases and 20% cited an increase in courts deeming pets to be an asset during a divorce.
“While pet custody cases are not an everyday occurrence, far too many spouses attempt to initiate these disputes as a negotiating strategy, often believing that they can use the animal as a kind of bargaining chip. This tactic is usually not effective and can come back to ‘bite’ the antagonist throughout the divorce process.” said Maria Cognetti, president of the AAML. “When it comes to a pet, it is often obvious which of the spouses has the strongest emotional bond.”
Overall, 27% of the AAML respondents noticed an increase in the number of couples who have fought over the custody of a pet during the past five years. While dogs and cats represented the two animals most commonly battled for, the choice “other” came in third at 6% and horses galloped to fourth with a 1% total. In terms of the most unusual animals handled during a pet dispute, some of the AAML attorneys listed: an iguana, python, African grey parrot, and even a giant 130-pound turtle.
Founded in 1962, the mission of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) is to provide leadership that promotes the highest degree of professionalism and excellence in the practice of family law.
Comprised of the top 1,600 matrimonial attorneys throughout the nation, members are recognized leaders in the areas of matrimonial law, including divorce, prenuptial agreements, legal separation, annulment, custody, property valuation and division, support, and the rights of unmarried couples.