In a 2006 survey by the 1,600-member American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a quarter of respondents said pet custody cases had increased noticeably since 2001. Although an official survey has not been taken since 2001, matrimonial lawyers have continued to see a growth as much as 15% over the last five years. Many attorneys have stated breakups in same-sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships are among reasons pet custody fights have become more common. Full article.

Pets are considered property in every state in the country. For years, they have been divvied up like furniture during divorce proceedings. However, there is a growing trend that Judges are viewing pets more akin to children than furniture, as there is an emotional attachment to a pet. Pets are gaining greater consideration under the law. While there is no law that recognizes visitation with an animal, and in years past, pets could not be protected in domestic violence restraining orders in any state, laws have changed in New York, as abusers can use pets to threaten victims, maybe even kill the animals.

The attorneys at Leeds, Morelli & Brown, P.C. have seen an increase in the number of disputes over pets in divorce proceedings in Nassau and Suffolk counties, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Staten Island. If you are facing a divorce proceeding, it is important to hire lawyers that keep up with the ever changing nature of the law. For any questions, contact an attorney at the Leeds Morelli & Brown P.C. law firm for a free consultation at  1-800-585-4658 or 516-873-9550 or visit our divorce website at