“I caught my husband cheating last night…I want his dog”

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Adultery has ruined more marriages than you can probably count. Some unions survive an affair, but for many, it’s a deal breaker, or at least the last straw that leads to divorce. But how does infidelity actually impact the process of ending a marriage?

Our founding partner, Rick Jones, recently stopped by the Danny Bonaduce and Sarah Morning Show on KZOK FM to answer listener questions about divorce and family law matters.

One caller had a very specific question related to this topic. She caught her husband messing around and wants to take him for everything she can, including his dog.

Caller Question:

“I am really upset this morning. I caught my husband cheating last night. And I am ready to take him for everything he’s got. Including his dog. I will take his dog. I can’t believe he cheated on me. But my question is, if I divorce him can I take it all? It’s all his fault. I haven’t been cheated, I’ve been faithful. ”

Danny“Well, I’ll tell you the bad news and then I’ll turn it over to a real live lawyer, and I don’t mean this about me or the show, we love you and care about you, but legally speaking, I don’t think anybody cares Janet. Let’s find out from an expert, Rick Jones.”

Ricks Answer:

Rick: “What Danny is referring to is what’s called a ‘No-Fault’ state, meaning the issue of fault doesn’t have anything to do with financial issues, dividing up assets and liabilities.

“The reason they do that, not to be an additional thorn in your side, and I certainly feel bad for what you’re experiencing right now, but the reason they do that is that it would open up so many levels of litigation in what’s already just a packed court docket.

“So the reality from an attorney’s perspective is, you want to get an attorney that will treat it as a business transaction. In other words, get this done, move on, those assets that otherwise you’re going for would end up getting frittered away with the amount of attorney fees you’d have to go after this litigation.  So ultimately the pain you’re feeling will mitigate.”

Danny: “Can I tell you something, Janet? And I am adamant about this, you don’t have to do any of this right now. It’s like going shopping when you’re hungry. You’re mad, you’re going to call a lawyer before you do anything, and that’s a great idea, get yourself a lawyer.

“But you don’t have to divorce him today. Retain good counsel, but give yourself a minute to breathe, ‘cus you’re real mad, and you don’t often go after peoples’ dogs, that’s all I’m saying, Janet. Calm down, take a breath and think about what you want to do with the rest of your life, because this is an important decision.”

When it comes to pet custody, the law is somewhat vague. In many cases, courts consider pets property and treat them as such, but not every case. Pet custody is a topic that has come up increasingly over the years. How courts view them often varies from person to person, judge to judge.

This area continues to evolve, however. A recent court decision in Oregon ruled dogs are not “mere” property. And similar cases have popped up around the country. Still, there’s no uniform statute covering pet custody. If you have concerns, you can protect your pets with prenuptial agreements, through mediation, or through other arrangements.

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