Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ach - der pooches not part of separation package

Couples who are extended family to pets don't always if rarely think about setting out legal agreements and visitation rights when it comes to the non-human family member(s), especially when in cases of separation leading to divorce.

This became a legal issue in Germany when a woman filed suit to get visition rights to see the former couple's dog. You read it right: their dog.

In the suit the former wife attempted to force her estranged husband to give her visiting rights to their pooch, which they had acquired during their marriage, on a regular basis. They had agreed as part of the separation that the husband would have custody of the dog but the woman wanted to increase visiting to twice per week.

In response, the former husband objected and the court found that while separated spouses have a right to a fair division of property, this did not include joint custody of pets.

In their edict, the court decided that "rules applying to visitation rights for a child do not apply here. Under such arrangements, the primary concern is the welfare of the child and not the emotional needs of the other spouse."

Given all the problems in the world i.e. poverty, starvation, homelessness, etc. couples fight over pet visition rights? Seems to me that the husband was using the dog as means in which to get back at his former wife. Could they both not have agreed that she could see the dog in a neutral place i.e. veterinarian's office or pet shop... If only our pets could speak, what stories they would tell.

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