Animal Law

Experts Advise on Key Custody Issue: The Family Dog

A divorcing spouse may think his or her dog will be bereft without a favorite human at hand.

But actually the most stressful part of a divorce for some canines is the lack of routine that results, reports the Asheville, N.C., Citizen-Times.

“We’ve had cases where, just like the parents will share custody of the kids, they have joint custody of the pets, and this is spelled out in the separation agreement,” paralegal Steve Dunn tells the newspaper. He is office manager for Craig Associates in Asheville.

But behavior problems can result, experts say, if a dog isn’t given a predictable routine. And that can make joint custody arrangements highly problematic for the pet.

“Change is not a dog’s friend,” says Kim Brophey, a pet behavior consultant in Asheville. “Going back and forth is not cool.”

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