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Sympathetic judge sets child custody hearing for beloved pup

The state of Utah has legislation in place that addresses how to award visitation rights and divide personal property. However, there are instances when the law allows for a bit of creativity to resolve some family law disputes. Case in point, one family law judge has agreed to rule on a very unique child custody case that doesn’t actually involve a child at all.

While an exact date for the child custody hearing has yet to be determined, one New York family law judge will soon set time aside to decide which party should have custody of their two-year-old miniature Dachshund. In his explanation for accepting the case, the judge noted that the issue of determining the future of man’s best friend deserved as much attention as ruling on some property division disputes. Furthermore, the judge anticipates that pet custody cases will become more common.

The case comes at a time when few states have legislation in place to determine who should have legal custody of the family pet in the event of divorce. The specific case at hand involves a same-sex married couple who are fighting over the custody of their dog, Joey. One spouse argues that that she should have sole custody of Joey because she was his primary caregiver and source of financial support. Joey was apparently bought as a gift by the woman for her future wife.

Earlier this year, however, the couple broke up and the wife moved away with Joey. She argues that the dog is her best friend and that they have bonded deeply. Joey currently lives out of state with the soon-to-be ex-wife.

The family law judge has explained that his decision will be based on considerations similar to those made in any other child custody hearing.


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