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A nation of animal lovers?

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I read, with interest, some research recently conducted by the Co-operative Pet Insurance Services in relation to pets and divorce. Being someone who loves statistics, I read the research with interest which revealed:- 20% of separating couples fight for custody of their pets.  In over 50% of the cases surveyed both parties wanted to keep the pet and 20% agreed a joint custody arrangement ... And most interestingly 1 in 10 felt that losing the pet was worse than losing their partner!!

Having grown up in a house full of pets I can sympathise with this predicament, though it was interesting to read that of the 20% of people surveyed who subsequently reconciled, over half reconciled for the sake of the pet.

Pets are treated as "personal possessions" that are to be divided amongst the separating couple along with the sofa; tv and cd collection. Many people, however, do view their pets as part of the family and it can be difficult to resolve. Whilst cd's can be divided up, a dog or cat, cannot.

These types of disputes are perfect for mediation or collaborative law. A mediator can be appointed to resolve all the issues arising out of the breakdown of a relationship- the finances; the children and the pets. I am a trained collaborative lawyer and this is a great way of resolving the marital finances.  Both parties sit down, face to face, with their own solicitors in the same room and work out a solution that works for them.  It is very client led and both parties commit not to go to court.  In the cases I have dealt with this way often innovative solutions to problems can be found- shared care arrangements work for children, who says it cannot work for a pet? It is hard enough going through the process of a relationship breakdown so any method that can ease that pain must be of benefit.

To find out more about collaborative law go to www.collabfamilylawyorks.co.uk

If you would like to discuss anything in respect of this article or any related issues please do not hesitate to get in touch with myself or one of my colleagues. I can be contacted on 0113 3363323 or by email on justine.osmotherley@clarionsolicitors.com

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