Should I Mediate The Custody Of My Pets? Massachusetts Pet Custody Mediation
A recent study found that nearly seventy percent of pet owners consider their pets family members.
As a result, the question of what happens to our furry friends when relationships go south often becomes a contentious issue during divorce proceedings.
Should pet custody be mediated just like child custody? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Pet Custody Mediation?
Pet custody mediation is a process in which an impartial third party helps resolve disagreements between parties over caring for a pet.
Mediators can help pet owners agree on issues such as who will provide food and shelter for the pet, who will pay for veterinary care, and what will happen if one of the parties moves out of state.
In some cases, mediators may also be able to help parties come to an agreement on visitation rights and create a schedule for when each party will spend time with the pet.
Pet custody mediation can be an effective way to resolve disagreements between pet owners without going to court.
How do Massachusetts divorce courts view pets?
In a divorce, the court will look at several factors to decide how to divide the property between the divorcing spouses.
One of those factors is whether the property is considered “marital property” or “separate property.”
Marital property is any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage.
Separate property, on the other hand, is any property acquired by either spouse before the marriage or after the filing for divorce.
Pets are considered personal property and, therefore, subject to the same rules as other types of personal property regarding divorce.
In most cases, pets are classified as marital property and are subject to division between spouses in a divorce.
However, there are some instances where a pet may be classified as separate property.
For example, if a pet was given to one spouse as a gift from a third party (such as a family member) or someone purchased the pet with money inherited by one spouse, the pet would likely be considered separate property.
What about the pets you had before the marriage?
If you have pets before marriage, but after marriage, they become attached to both of you and your lifestyle, the court will most likely classify them as marital property.
In this instance, the court may consider several factors to divide the pet between the spouses, such as who purchased the pet, who paid for its food and veterinary care, and who spent more time caring for the pet.
But, if a person has a license or certificate for the animal, that would be separate property. It is because it is an intangible piece of property and not the pet itself.
The Benefits Of Pet Custody Mediation
More and more people think that pet custody mediation has several benefits.
Avoid Costly Litigation
One of the primary benefits of pet custody mediation is that it can help avoid the costly and time-consuming litigation process. When pet owners cannot agree on who should get custody of their pets, they may need to go to court to have a judge make a decision. It can be a very expensive and stressful process for all parties involved.
Another benefit of pet custody mediation is that it can save much time. The mediation process is typically much shorter than litigation, and you can often complete it in just one or two sessions. Pet owners can resolve their disputes and move on with their lives much more quickly than if they go through the court system.
Keep Things Civil
Pet custody mediation can also help to keep things civil between the parties involved. When pet owners can sit down and discuss their disputes calmly and constructively, they are more likely to reach an acceptable agreement for both sides. It is in contrast to the often adversarial nature of litigation, which can make it difficult for parties to remain cordial.
Reach a Fair Agreement
One of the main goals of mediation is to help parties reach a fair agreement that meets the needs of both sides. It is in contrast to the courtroom, where the judge will decide based on the law and what they believe is in the best interests of justice. In mediation, both sides have an opportunity to explain their position and needs, and the mediator will work with them to try to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs.
Keep Things Private
Another benefit of mediation is that it helps to keep things private. When disputes are resolved through mediation, the proceedings are not public record like they would be if the case went to court. Any confidential information shared during mediation will not become part of the public record. It can be important for pet owners who want to keep their disputes private and out of the public eye.
Get Expert Help
When parties mediate their pet custody dispute, they have access to the expertise of a trained mediator. Mediators are neutral third parties who are skilled in helping people resolve disputes. They will work with both sides to help them understand their options and reach a resolution that is acceptable to both parties.
Factors To Consider When Making The Decision To Mediate Pet Custody
There are a lot of factors that we need to consider when deciding to mediate our pet custody dispute. We need to think about what is best for our pets, what is best for us, and what is best for our relationship with our ex-partner.
Here are some things we need to consider before deciding on pet custody.
The Relationship Between the Parties
One of the first things to consider when deciding to mediate pet custody is the relationship between the parties. Mediation may be a good option if the parties can communicate and work together reasonably well. However, if the parties are not on good terms, mediation may not be successful.
The Ability to Reach an Agreement
Another factor to consider is the ability of the parties to reach an agreement. Mediation is only successful if both parties are willing to compromise and come to an agreement that is acceptable to both sides. Mediation is likely to be unsuccessful if one party is unwilling to budge on their position.
The Wishes of the Pet
Another factor to consider is the wishes of the pet. While it may seem silly, many pets have preferences and opinions. If both parties can put aside their desires and focus on what would be best for the pet, they are more likely to be successful in mediation.
Cost is always a factor to consider when making any decision, and mediation is no different. Mediation can be expensive, so it is important to make sure that it is something that both parties can afford before deciding to mediate.
The Time Commitment
Mediation can also be time-consuming, so it is important to ensure that both parties are willing to commit the necessary time before deciding to mediate. Mediation is likely to be unsuccessful if one or both parties cannot commit the time required.
How Can A Mediator Help You And Your Ex-Spouse Come To An Agreement About Pet Custody?
A mediator can help you and your ex-spouse agrees on pet custody by:
Helping you identify the issues that need to be addressed to reach an agreement;
Assisting you in exploring options for resolving the issues;
Providing information and resources that can help you make informed decisions;
Facilitating communication between you and your ex-spouse;
Assisting you in reaching an agreement that is acceptable to both parties.
What Are The Steps Involved In Mediation?
The steps involved in mediation will vary depending on the specific process used.
However, some common steps are typically involved in mediation.
- The mediator will meet with both parties to explain the mediation process and answer any questions they may have.
- The mediator will help the parties identify the issues that need to be addressed in order to reach an agreement.
- The mediator will assist the parties in exploring options for resolving the issues.
- The mediator will provide information and resources to help the parties make informed decisions.
- The mediator will facilitate communication between the parties.
- The mediator will assist the parties in reaching an acceptable agreement for both sides.
Tips For Successfully Mediating Pet Custody In Massachusetts
There are a few things that you can do to increase the chances of successfully mediating pet custody in Massachusetts.
Some of these tips include:
- Be prepared to discuss the issues you must address to reach an agreement.
- Be willing to compromise and consider the needs and wishes of both parties.
- Be respectful of the mediator and the process.
- Be patient and allow enough time for the mediation process to unfold.
What Are The Alternatives To Mediation For Pet Custody Agreements?
If mediation is not successful, or if it is not an option for you, there are a few other alternatives that you may want to consider.
Some of these alternatives include:
- Collaborative law
FAQs On Massachusetts law Pet Custody Mediation
Who gets the dog in a divorce in Massachusetts?
The outcome of pet custody in a divorce will depend on the case’s specific circumstances. The stronger your case is, the more likely you will be successful in getting the custody arrangement you want.
Is Ma A 50/50 custody State?
No, Massachusetts is not a 50/50 custody state. The court will consider several factors when determining custody, including the child’s or your pet’s best interests.
Does a child have a say in custody in Massachusetts?
No, a child has no say in custody in Massachusetts until the age of 18.
Is a pet an asset in divorce?
A pet may be considered an asset in a divorce if there is evidence that the pet has value. The court will consider several factors when determining whether or not a pet has value, including the pet’s age and health, the breed’s market value, and any sentimental value attached to the pet during the pet custody disputes.
Who Pays For Pet Custody Mediation?
The cost of pet custody mediation will vary depending on the specific mediation process being used. Sometimes, the parties may be responsible for their mediator’s fees. In other cases, the mediator’s fees may be split between the parties.
What Happens If We Can’t Agree On A Custody Arrangement?
If you cannot reach an agreement on a custody arrangement, you can reach out to a lawyer or file for custody in court. The court will then make a fair decision.
Wrapping Up: Massachusetts Pet Custody Mediation
When it comes to pet custody, Massachusetts is a no-fault state. It means the court will not consider who is “at fault” for the marriage breakup when deciding on pet custody.
Instead, the court will look at the pet’s best interests. You may need mediation if you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on pet custody.
Mediation can help decide pet custody because it allows both parties to have a voice and makes decisions by consensus.
A mediator can help you, and your ex-spouse agrees on pet custody that works for everyone involved. If you are considering mediation, please find a mediation attorney from lawsuit.com‘s directory today!