Death and Divorce

For every man, woman, and child, death is a certainty. Death is neither convenient or timely. Death itself always comes at a time when no one expects it to happen. What part does death play before a divorce is final? What part does death play after a divorce is final? In this blog, I will specifically address what death does to a divorce proceeding.

Death Prior to Judgment

A divorce is not final until the judge grants the divorce. To clear up some confusion, I have included a list of myths and facts:

MYTH: I filed for divorce so that technically means I am divorced.
FACT: Until a Judge grants your divorce, you are STILL married.

MYTH: I changed my Facebook status to divorced/single/its complicated so that means I am not married.
FACT: Until a Judge grants your divorce, you are STILL married.

MYTH: We are separated and no longer live together plus I am dating someone else so that means I am not married.
FACT:  Until a Judge grants your divorce, you are STILL married.

But, what happens if a spouse dies during the divorce? Does this mean you were still married? Yes, if a spouse dies during a divorce, you were still married. If one spouse dies during the divorce, then the court will dismiss the divorce because the court loses authority to enter any order other than an order of dismissal. The death of a spouse automatically terminates the divorce action if a judgment is not granted.

Death after Judgment

If a divorce is granted and the final decree of divorce is signed by the Judge, then death of a spouse after the divorce has no effect on the finality of the divorce. However, what happens if the Judge granted the divorce but did not sign the decree? For example:

Jack and Jill had a final trial in their divorce matter. Both Jack and Jill testified and the Judge granted the divorce. The Judge told the attorneys to draft a final decree and send it to him for his signature. Later that day, Jack fell down a hill while attempting to gather some water in a bucket. Jack suffered a life-ending head injury and died.

In this instance, the court will not dismiss the divorce because the divorce is final. The Judge already granted the divorce during the final trial. The act of signing the order is considered a ministerial act.

If you or anyone you know has questions pertaining to family law please contact a skilled attorney like a divorce lawyer Arlington TXrelies on today.

Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLCThanks to our friends and contributors from the Brandy Austin Law Firm PLLC for their insight into divorce and family law practice.

Same Sex Divorce

Though same sex marriages are now legal across the United States and recognized in every state, until recently that was not the case. As as a result, same sex divorce was not possible in many areas of the country. This has now changed.

Before the US Supreme Court’s decision in 2015 to legalize same sex marriage across the country, not all gay spouses could divorce without a tremendous amount of trouble and confusion. This is because until it became nationally recognized, gay marriages weren’t legal in every state. If a gay couple was legally married in one state then moved to a state that didn’t recognize same sex marriage, they couldn’t get divorced there either.

Residency and Divorce Laws

Prior to the ruling in 2015, same sex couples could get divorced in the same state where they married, but that caused many problems.

  • Most states require couples to establish residency before they will be granted a divorce in that state. If the same sex couple moved away after they were married, they were forced to return to the original state and re-establish residency to get divorced. This could require couples to relocate several times.
  • Same sex couples who travelled to another location simply to get legally married returned home to a state that didn’t recognize their marriage and therefore would not grant a divorce.

Ending a Domestic Partnership

If a same sex couple formed a domestic partnership or civil union rather than a legally recognized marriage, they may face additional challenges. Though those two alternate arrangements are very similar to being married, state laws vary on how they recognize them, if at all. Check with a same divorce lawyer if you are unsure.

  • If the same sex couple entered into a domestic partnership or civil union in one state then relocated to another state that doesn’t recognize that arrangement, they may not be able to dissolve it where they currently reside.
  • If a same sex couple entered into a civil union in Rhode Island or Delaware prior to 2013, that arrangement was automatically converted to a marriage in that year.

Consult a Divorce Lawyer

Most family law lawyer Peoria IL trusts offer a free case review for couples who are considering ending their marriage. A divorce lawyer can help make a difficult process as straightforward as possible. Know your legal rights after speaking with a divorce lawyer who has helped other same sex couples navigate their way through the divorce process.


 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Smith & Weer, P.C. for their insight into divorce practice.

Family Law – What does it mean?

One of the many questions we get as a family law attorney as Arlington TX relies on is “What is Family Law?”  Some people are quick to assume that family law deals with only divorce or child support. While that may be partially true, family law encompasses a broad range of topics involving marriage and children. Family law includes such topics as divorce/annulment, child support, spousal maintenance, access and possession, conservatorship and even name changes. Some other topics family law covers are adoptions, guardianships, restraining orders, protective orders, even child protective services (CPS) cases.

 

In some states, some of the more populated counties have dedicated Family Law Courts. These are courts that specifically hear family law cases. Quite often you will see an Associate Court and a District Court assigned under the same number. For example: the 121st District Court will also have the 121st Associate Court. Normally, the Associate Courts in family law deal with the initial stages of a family law case such as Temporary Orders hearings. The District Court deals with the final stages of a family law case such as Final Decree of Divorce. In the less populated counties, family law cases will be assigned to either a District Court or a County Court that deals with multiple areas of the law.

 

Oftentimes, people believe what happens in one state will apply to another state. For example: Tex Lonestar lives in the great state of Texas. Tex searches the web and reads that State A calculates child support based on both incomes of the parents.  Tex attempts to calculate child support in Texas based on what he read about State A. In Texas, the Texas Family Code, is the legislative law that dictates what happens with regards to family law and the court system. In the Texas Family Code, child support is calculated based on the monthly income of one parent. Tex will only be able to calculate child support based on Texas law because Tex lives in Texas. This does not mean that Texas will not recognize family law cases from other states. Each state has its own family law rules and procedures. What works in what state does not necessarily work in another. You have to speak to an attorney in your state to determine your guidelines.

 

It is true that other areas of the law have challenging aspects and emotional highs and lows. However, family law is the one area of law that allows a person to see the emotional impact upfront and personal. Whether it is a divorce or an adoption, family law impacts the the lives of the people that encounter it. The court process itself can be very confusing and it would be wise to consult a family law attorney help explain your rights and to protect your interests.

 

If you or anyone you know has questions pertaining to family law or wishes to have a free 30-minute consultation, please contact the family law attorneys at the Brandy Austin Law Firm. Our attorneys are experienced in handling all types of family law cases including divorce, custody, adoptions and child support.

 

Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC Thanks to our friends and contributors from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC for their insight into family law practice.

When Should You Get a Divorce?

A successful marriage requires work from both spouses. While making our marriages work is a priority for many, there are some who simply unable or unwilling to make the necessary effort. Not all marriages can last forever, and not all couples are able to work through the issues negatively affecting their relationship.

If you are wondering whether or not divorce is your best option, consider your situation very carefully. Once you make the decision to divorce, your life might change in many ways, and not all of them good. However, here are several common reasons why many couples choose divorce.

The Situation is Dangerous

If you’re in a dangerous situation that cannot be resolved peacefully, by all means file for divorce. If your life, the lives of your children, or the lives of your extended family are at risk because of your marriage, it’s time to get out. This can happen if your spouse is not making any effort to resolve one or more of the following issues:

  • Physical abuse toward you or anyone else
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Mental health disorders
  • Your spouse is no longer taking required medications for mental disorders
  • Your spouse is a target of dangerous people

Any of the above scenarios might place you or your children in danger from your spouse. For safety reasons, divorcing your spouse may be your only option. We can help you by protecting your legal rights. We can also direct you to resources that can assist you transition from a dangerous situation into a new life.

 

You’re No Longer Connected

When you’re living separate lives in the same house, it might be time to consider divorce as a divorce lawyer Peoria IL trusts might recommend. Some couples grow so far apart they no longer connect, even after marriage or couples counseling. If you cannot find anything you have in common, you can’t find any romance or passion, or you’re simply no longer interested in being married, it’s reasonable to consider divorce.

 

You or Your Spouse Has Given Up

If one partner has given up for any reason and has no desire to try and work out your issues to make your marriage work, it’s time to get out of the marriage. There is no point in sitting around waiting to see if things will work out in the long run when one partner is checked out.

 

You Can See the Future Without Your Spouse

When you can envision your future without your spouse, it’s not a good sign. If you can see yourself getting remarried to someone else, living alone, or living life in the future without your spouse, there is an issue you need to face. It’s time to consider what divorce means for you.

 

You’ve Tried and It’s Not Working

Sometimes you give it all you’ve got, and it still doesn’t work out. It’s all right. Not all marriages work, and not all couples are meant to be together. If you want to pursue divorce after all the effort you’ve put into it, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty. We can help you make the next move to legally dissolve your marriage.

 

There’s no right or wrong reason to end a marriage, but we do encourage you to leave quickly if you are in a dangerous situation. There is help for you, and we can point you in the right direction. Call us for a free consultation to discuss your options.

Smith & Weer, P.C.

Thanks to our friends and contributors for their insight into Smith & Weer, P.C. for their insight into divorce practice.

Am I Entitled to Half My Soon to Be Ex Spouse’s Personal Injury Settlement?

Splitting up assets and liabilities during a divorce proceeding can be a painful experience, both emotionally and financially. It can get even more complicated when assets are accumulated while a divorce is pending. Such can be the case with a personal injury settlement award.

Take this example. You’ve filed for divorce against your husband, and the litigation is proceeding through the court system. During this separation, your husband is involved in an auto accident that is not his fault, and requires the help of a personal injury attorney Milwaukee trusts . He sustains a major injury and wins a substantial settlement from the at-fault driver. After this, questions may arise.

Although you are separated, he is still your husband. Therefore, are you entitled to a portion of the settlement award when it comes time to divide assets as part of the divorce?

It depends. If a family court judge determines that the injury award is joint marital property, then he or she may divide it between you and your spouse.

The first issue is what state you call home. In community property states, marital assets are handled differently in that all marital property is very often divided equally between the spouses at the time of divorce. Community property states include:

  • California
  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Nevada
  • Louisiana
  • Texas
  • New Mexico
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin.

Community Property

A personal injury settlement is intended to compensate the victim for any damages they suffered due to the at-fault party’s negligence. Generally, when it comes to dividing assets in a divorce, the court breaks down the settlement award based on each cost that the award covers. For instance, lost wages are almost always treated as marital property. However, if part of the personal injury award is for pain and suffering, because that specifically addresses the victim, it’s usually considered separate rather than shared property. A family or divorce lawyer can review your case and offer legal guidance as to how a court is likely to rule in your unique situation.

Timing

What is also important to consider is at what time in the divorce process the settlement is awarded to the injured spouse. If the check arrives before the divorce decree is finalized, a court may compel the parties to split the person injury award if they consider it joint marital property. However, if the settlement does not arrive until after the ink on the divorce decree is dry, then the settlement proceeds might not be divided between the parties unless the divorce court already ordered that it should be shared.

Consult with your family law attorney about the legalities in your state. A knowledgeable lawyer can clarify whether or not you might be entitled to your soon-to-be ex spouse’s personal injury settlement award.

Hickey & Turim, SCThanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into personal injury practice.

5 Types of Probate Court Cases

5 Types of Probate Court Cases

Probate court is a unique type of court that deals with matters pertaining to the estate of a deceased person. It also oversees the distribution of assets after a person has died. The word probate refers to the proving of a will: determining if a testament is valid or not. Probate cases take different forms, and each one has unique procedures that will follow. Protocols can also vary from one state to another. After the death of an individual, it is a requirement for his or her will to pass through the probate process. Understanding the different kinds of cases heard in probate court is imperative. Note that all probate proceedings occur in the place where the deceased was living permanently at the time of death.

 

  • Administration of Assets

 

Before an estate can be divided among heirs, the court must decide on the originality of the will. Until this happens, a will has no legal effect, meaning heirs cannot make claims to any part of a decedent’s estate. Immediately after death, the representative of the deceased must produce the will. Suppressing or destroying a will is an offense punishable by law. A probate court can demand that a representative delivers a will within a specified period. The role of the court in this instance is to ensure the last wishes of a testator are met. By accounting the decedent’s properties, the court can then distribute them according to the terms of a will. The type of estate and the assets dictate the filing procedures. Having an Roseville CA estate-planning lawyer in such a scenario may be very helpful.

 

  • Will Contests

 

An instrument (will) can be brought into question if there are solid grounds. Contesting a will usually involves heirs or relatives fighting the validity of a document submitted for probate. Various matters can lead to the contest of a probated will. For one, there may be arguments that the testator did not have the mental capacity to make the will. Another is that an individual may have been coerced in some way to make the instrument. A will that did not follow the proper legal protocols can also come into question. Whatever the reason for the contest, enough proof should be available to support it. The representative of the will has the job of defending its contents as valid.

 

  • Guardianship of Minors and their Assets

 

Another type of case that the probate court oversees is the appointment of guardianship when the deceased has left behind a minor. If a will proposed a guardian for the decedent’s child, then the court has to conduct investigations to see if they meet certain qualifications. On the off chance that a decedent did not leave a will, it is the court’s duty to appoint a guardian while taking the interests of the child into consideration. The court requires guardians to make annual reports.

 

  • Conservatorships of Adults and their Assets

 

A conservatorship case happens when a responsible adult or entity is put in charge of a person who cannot care for him or herself. The conservatee can be a young person or an senior who doesn’t have the capability to handle their own estate. A temporary conservator is appointed when the need for one arises suddenly. The type and terms of a conservatorship will depend on a specific case.

 

  • Administration of Trusts

 

Some wills contain documents that leave assets or money (trust) to another individual. A trust is left in the care of a trustee who is supposed to oversee the distribution of assets. Probate courts have the mandate to hear cases involving various issues of a trust. For instance, if there is a need to amend the terms of a trust, or when there are disputes between different parties, the issues will be heard by probate court.


 

Thanks to our friends and contributors at Meyer & Yee, P.C. for their insight into probate cases.

5 Things Trophy Wives Should Know
About Divorce

5 things trophy wives should know about divorceSo you may have nailed down a rich husband? If your newfound sugar daddy wants a prenuptial agreement, you may need to find a good divorce lawyer. Are there children involved that may leave you needing alimony and child support? Already signed the prenuptial agreement? Talking to a divorce lawyer may save you some time and frustration with any future sugar daddy issues. There are a few major things any trophy wife should know before marrying your wealthy prince charming.

Prenuptial agreements should be looked at with a divorce attorney before signing.

Well yeah, if you are signing a binding contract that potentially says you don’t get anything in the event of a divorce, seeking the counsel of a divorce lawyer may be wise. A divorce lawyer can help you understand the details of the agreement and make sure you don’t get left with anything in the end. There is no formula for prenuptial agreements, so if you’ve seen one before with your previous husband, it doesn’t mean the next one will be the same.

Martial property and individual property definitions may screw you.

If there is any legal jargon defining what is marital property and what is individual property, you may want to pay close attention. Many rich soon-to-be husbands classify a lot of their belongings and assets as individual assets, meaning you don’t get jack in the event of a divorce. Be sure you go over these items or properties clearly with a divorce lawyer so you are not surprised when you walk away with nothing but a throw pillow and a DVD set.

If he had a previous divorce, prenuptials often stipulate that assets will go to the previous marriage’s children.

So your future Mr. Moneybags left his wrinkly wife and kids for you, the hot new trophy wife. Chances are, even though you seem to be winning the battle, the ex-wife may win the war. Many prenuptial contracts state that any and all assets and properties will go to the ex-wife or their subsequent children — meaning if you get tired of Mr. Moneybags, you may not walk away with anything but your hurt pride. If your own children are involved you may want a divorce attorney to help you sort out child custody and visitation in the event of a change of heart about your new hubby.

Pre-marital debt may not be covered in a prenuptial.

So you snagged a rich guy that says he will pay off your debt and take care of you, because you’re hot, obviously. You may want to make sure that your pre-martial debt is actually covered in your martial prenuptial agreement. A divorce attorney can show you where to look for these things, and help you negotiate if they are not included. A divorce caused by work is common as well, which may require a divorce attorney to help you plead your case against your Prince Charming’s over demanding job.

Family heirlooms are given back to family members, no matter what was given to whom during the marriage.

Got a shiny diamond necklace? What about that big rock on your finger? Was it his grandma’s? Chances are the prenuptial agreement states that you will have to give those family heirlooms back to the family members of your new moneyman if you ever get divorced.

Don’t want to get screwed over in the end? Want to make sure you aren’t left on the backburner if a divorce ensues? Talking to a divorce lawyer who is licensed in your state before you sign any contract is the best plan. It’s more than appropriate to negotiate a prenuptial contract, which a divorce attorney can help you negotiate, especially if you are wondering how long does a divorce take if you are seeing one on the horizon. Find a divorce lawyer today, and make sure your trophy wife status will be intact even after a divorce from your new honey.

Divorce as a Result of Injury

As a divorce lawyer, I can attest that just because you’re not an NFL player, doesn’t mean that a career ending injury can’t have a major effect on your personal life. Divorce is a common consequence to work related injuries. In fact, many injured individuals look to their Long Island personal injury lawyer or Long Island car accident lawyer for divorce counsel when the stress of loss wages and loss of vitality have proven too much for the bonds of a marriage.

Consider this, your spouse has gotten hurt on the job and can no longer work. As a personal injury lawyer traverses the legal process in order to get some sort of recompense, your personal life suffers. You and your spouse are put under immense financial pressure. Making ends meet is becoming harder and harder, if not impossible. All of the ownice is on you now to not only take care of all of the day to day expenses, but also the costly and demoralizing mountain of debt associated with medical bills. Instead of being a partner, you’re now a care taker. Under circumstances like that, it’s almost easy to see how the cracks in a marriage become unbridgeable canyons.

Don’t let this kind of situation catch you off guard. While not normally considered, a personal injury lawyer can walk you through the steps of divorce as a result of personal injury. We are well versed in the intricacies of divorce as a result of injury, and can foresee the unique problems you may encounter in a situation like the one discussed above. In a particularly emotionally draining situation–not only involving injury, but divorce due to essentially the loss of your partner–you need someone with specific knowledge that overlaps both arenas of law to guide you through the legal process.

If you’re stuck in a marriage deteriorated by a personal injury, buried under a mountain of medical bills, unable to make ends meet, failing to find your partner in your spouse,then you need to talk to someone who understands your unique legal situation. Look to a Long Island personal injury lawyer if you’re marriage has been broken by an on-the-job accident today.

Was Your Divorce Triggered By Financial Duress?

Are finances forcing you and your spouse apart? Believe it or not, financial duress acts as ample grounds for divorce. As the leading cause for tension in a marriage, finances—especially when under strain—can quickly widen the gap between you and your partner. grounds for divorce  This kind of strain can be a result of many different issues. While people tend to imagine gambling addictions or out-of-control retail therapy to be the root of most financial duress divorces, that’s not always the case. Commonly, attorneys see this kind of grounds for divorce develop underneath the weight of a lost income coupled with a mountain of medical bills.

Specifically, workplace injury attorneys in Atlanta, GA see this kind of grounds for divorce materialize all the time; as their cases often develop from a loss of income. This kind of financial strain alone can generate the tension that leads to divorce, but stir in the mounting pressure brought on by medical expenses, and the financial issues may prove to be too much for a marital bond to hold. Medical care often involves many emotionally and fiscally draining levels. Not only will the bills begin to stack up with the initial emergency care, but, as corroborated by a top plastic surgeon in Washington DC, many work injury victims require further care in order to regain at least some semblance of normalcy. So while a top workers comp lawyer Atlanta, GA has to offer may be working to right the wrong on an occupational level, this kind of personal turmoil is often too much for a marriage to handle. In such a scenario, grounds for divorce are quickly met.

The vicious cocktail of lost income and mounting medical bills can bend and break the bonds of marriage with emphatic force; and unfortunately, this ferocious combination of factors can often untie even the strongest of bonds. A top Atlanta, GA workers compensation lawyer suggests that someone experiencing this kind of duress take stock, recognize that they have ample grounds for divorce, and seek legal assistance during such a difficult time. Don’t let the pressure of financial duress keep you from happiness. Realize your grounds for divorce, and take action for your future!

Don’t Lose Your Hair over Divorce!

Hair loss after washing of the head

Studies have surfaced that show a not-so-surprising link between divorce and hair loss. It appears that, after genetics, losing a spouse to divorce or death is the leading cause of hair loss among women. While we never would have guessed this, it stands to reason. We have all heard that stress can cause us to lose our hair and, of course, we all know that divorce is a stressful undertaking. Therefore, women who are already genetically predisposed to hair loss can find the condition exacerbated by the stress of divorce: the litigation process, changes in the home, financial struggles and loneliness are all common stressors in divorce.

For women– and men– going through divorce, there is no need to panic. Stressing about hair loss will only cause the condition to worsen. And luckily, the other main factors in hair loss include smoking and drinking, which are in fact controllable. In some cases, hair loss is reversible through better self-care, at the hairline or internally through nutrition. Others go a different route and consult with hair restoration experts like Dr. Robin Unger. Robin Unger, MD specializes in both female and male hair restoration, and helps many regain their hairlines after losing a spouse.

A few months ago, we highlighted the growing trend of people undergoing cosmetic procedures after a divorce. During a divorce, looks and self-care often take a backseat to other more pressing matters. The result: a divorced person not looking or feeling his/her best. Many divorcees opt for cosmetic procedures ranging from botox injections to total body makeovers, and also Dr. Robin Unger’s hair restoration treatment.  While such procedures are quite common among divorced women, there is no shortage of men seeking hair restoration and other cosmetic treatments.

Both sexes, after being married for a time, may feel intimidated about reentering the dating pool. Firmer skin, a whiter smile and a fuller hairline can all provide a much needed confidence boost, and help newly single parties look and feel more attractive. This is not to say that a hair transplant will win you a new spouse, but it is much harder to find someone who will be happy with you if you feel unhappy with yourself for any reason.

If you contact a physician like Dr. Unger, it is important to learn all of the risks and rewards involved in hair restoration: What is the recovery time? How much will this procedure help my case? How much does it cost? These are all important questions, as an elective procedure like hair restoration is not covered by medical insurance.  Also, it is important to ask yourself: Am I doing this for the right reason? Surgical procedures are a personal matter, and we hope that you undertake them to further your own happiness, no-one else’s. If you go into the procedure with correct information, honesty, and realistic expectations, it may prove helpful in moving forward with your life. Getting divorced does not mean– literally or figuratively– that you have to lose your hair.

Divorce Tip: Get to Know Your Legal Team

Multi-ethnic business people disscussing a budget plan in a meeting

When you make the difficult decision to get a divorce, you are making the decision to upend your life as you know it. You run the risk of losing your home, time with your children and, yes, it will cost you money in legal fees. When you search for a divorce lawyer, it is important that you find a qualified legal professional with whom you can work. However, you would do well to recognize that your primary attorney will not be working alone. The best divorce attorneys are also surrounded by a quality legal team, who can help you restructure your life in a suitable manner.

The lawyers: Your divorce attorney will likely be working with other lawyers on your case. It is not uncommon for multiple lawyers to be present during your case evaluation. Ask who will be handling your case primarily, and what experience he/she has. It is very likely the attorneys working on the case will be his/her juniors. They may be quite capable, but it important to know who is involved and to what extent so you may build a trusting relationship. This person has significant influence over your future happiness.

The paralegals: In lieu of or in addition to other attorneys, your divorce lawyer may have a dedicated paralegal or team of paralegals managing your case. Paralegals may possess different levels of training and experience. Some may have more formal training from schools such as the Paralegal institute of Washington or other Washington, DC paralegal certification courses. Others may be students or possess a general degree and simply hold experience in the field. Paralegals are mostly responsible for organizing paperwork, liaising with clients and drafting documents. It may be hard to assess, but before signing a retainer agreement, try to determine how available the attorney is to you and how much work will be done through the paralegal.

Having good communication with a trustworthy legal team is an essential component in any legal proceeding. Finding attorneys with high success rates, excellent recommendations, and paralegals educated at the best paralegal certification programs in Washington DC and around the country– may seem like a daunting task. However, it will be well worth it in the end if it saves you property and alimony payments to your spouse.

Do Pets Play a Part in Divorce?

Staffordshire terrier puppy and a cat. Portrait on a white background

Plenty of married couples fight about their children: their parenting principles, the financial constraints of raising a family, and whether they even want to have children at all. All of these are important conversations to have before saying “I do.” However, people change, philosophies change, and the things we thought we wanted before differ from year to year. Sometimes, we get married with the vain hope that our spouses will change in ways that they never do. All of these are typical issues divorce lawyers and marriage therapists encounter. However, we are seeing an increase in similar arguments arising not over children, but over pets. That’s right. With more couples delaying parenthood, pets have become an integral part of many families, and the responsibilities that come with them can cause great contention both within marriage and in divorce.

If one of you is an avid pet lover, while the other is not keen on animals, it is important to understand this. Deciding if you can live with/without pets, setting ground rules about where the pet is allowed, how many pets you can have and where they will sleep, etc. can save lot of arguments and headaches and even keep you from the divorce lawyer’s chambers. This becomes trickier if someone in the relationship already owns a pet, and, believe it or not, for some, the pet may be a good indicator of whether or not the relationship is worth pursuing.

If, after setting ground rules you still have problems, get to the heart of the issue. Is your problem really that you cannot tolerate a pet? Or do you perhaps feel that your spouse prioritizes the pet over you? If living with a pet means living in intolerable conditions, then you will need to make this clear to your spouse. Sometimes, reluctant pet owners with severe allergies will end up in the hospital before the pet-loving spouse gets the picture. If, after a severe health issue, the spouse doesn’t relent, it may be time to speak to an attorney about divorce.

However, if the pet is tolerable, and living with the pet is a matter of adjustments, the reluctant spouse can certainly find ways to live with the pet before heading to divorce court. There are plenty of allergy specialists, like Washington, DC allergist, Dr. Michael Kletz, who specifically treat pet allergies.

Sometimes the problem isn’t one partner’s intolerance for the pet but, as with children, both owners love the pet too much to give it up. Are you in a custody battle for your pet? Unfortunately, while pets’ value may have increased in the eyes of the typical American family, they have not changed in the eyes of the law. As of 2015 across America, one is not able to file for “custody” of pets as you would a child. Rather, pets are treated like property, and the highest bidder wins. One owner may have to pay the other for the pet. Keeping your beloved dog or cat in divorce can certainly cost you.

There are many different factors that can be the cause or the result of divorce. As pets become a more integral part of many families, they are certainly not the least among such factors. We hope that your beloved companion does not add stress to your marriage, but if it does, we hope the guidelines in this post can help you reach a resolution, either in saving your marriage or in keeping what you value most.