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Much has changed in the divorce realm in recent years. We have cited major developments and trends in prior blog posts and on our website at The Law Office of Jamie Mitchell, LLC (with locations in Maryville and Edwardsville, respectively).

We note on a website page discussing child custody, for example, that while gender undeniably played a role in many divorce outcomes in bygone years, “courts do not [any longer] factor in the gender of the parent when making a decision.”

Another transformation over the years has been the growing judicial acceptance of shared parenting and custody models in lieu of prior outcomes that invariably gave one parent (usually the mother) physical custody.

Here’s yet another changed focus these days for many divorcing spouses and family law judges in select divorce matters: the intensified time and effort placed upon pets that will be affected by a marital dissolution.

It’s a truism that American love their pets, and divorce-linked stories readily reveal that. A recent media spotlight on pets and divorce points to evidence indicating “a marked increase in pet custody cases during the past five years.”

It bears noting, of course, that pets are not children. No judge will painstakingly pore over their best interests as he or she will do in the case of a child. Still, more courts are showing some willingness to consider pets from a custody perspective rather than as simply being personal property subject to a fair division in divorce.

The aforementioned article stresses that consultation with a proven family law attorney marks a good first step for acquiring knowledge of applicable laws concerning how pets are regarded and treated in divorce.

That piece further recommends that divorcing spouses seeking to draw up a livable plan (visitation and so forth) concerning a pet might want to negotiate and draft it with input from legal counsel in lieu of taking a pet-linked disagreement straight to court.