In Massachusetts can Pets be part of the Divorce?

 When couples divorce, people fight over a lot of different things. Many times, it is financial, such as marital homes, businesses or pensions. There are also custody disputes about children. However, it is becoming more frequent that there are disputes about pets.  Most of the time people can reach an agreement and can be part of the Court Order, including sharing time with pets.  However, there are times where it can be contentious. I have always had pets including dogs.  I had a divorce case several years ago where even though the parties were able to resolve the custody issues and division of marital assets, there was a very long and contentious argument just about the ashes of their dog.  Sometimes there are underlying power struggles that people want to deal with other times it is truly what they are looking for as in the best interest of the pet.

Courts are not the best place to get into a dispute in Massachusetts.  Pets are considered personal property rather than custody with children. It can be contentious regarding animals. Even if there is a significant dispute, it would be best to try and work out an arrangement with your soon to be ex-spouse that you could even write into the Divorce or Separation Agreement.

In Divorces, when dividing Assets even the “Little Things” like Pots and Pans Matter?

It is easy for the Judge or for the attorneys to overlook the importance of emotional connections that people have to their smaller assets.  It is important to recognize that particularly going through a divorce there are emotional times where something that is truly important and what is something that you are just trying to win.  Sometimes you will get into the process because your spouse wants something that you are going to fight him/her about it and you could end up spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars fighting about something that has very little value and it might not be that important to you, but you just don’t want him/her to win.

Other times there are aspects of something that is more important than the financial component. For example, season tickets for Patriots games have been one that I have come across that can be contentious for parties and sometimes people are willing to litigate it to a high level.  Being receptive or understanding of what is important to your spouse and trading off on what is important to each party and having some reasonableness to that, generally is more advantageous than to litigate a lot of the personal property issues.