A Pioneer In Pet Custody Issues

Our dogs, cats, and other pets are members of our family. During a divorce or separation, negotiating which party will be awarded or get custody of a pet or companion animal can be extremely difficult. This struggle is compounded by the fact that there are no laws or statutes in place that acknowledge the emotional bonds between animals and humans. Minnesota now allows for the inclusion of pets in orders for protection and furthermore, some courts are taking human best interests and animal best interests into account in applying their discretionary authority in divorce proceedings and civil replevin actions.

An animal law pioneer and a leader in the area of pet custody, Minnesota attorney Barbara J. Gislason understands her clients’ concerns and needs related to their dogs, cats, horses, birds, and other companion animals. Barbara has extensive experience representing clients involved in pet custody and ownership disputes, and she is a passionate advocate for the rights of both her clients and their animals. She wrote a book for the American Bar Association on the subject of pet law and pet custody called Pet Law and Custody: Establishing a Worthy and Equitable Jurisprudence for the Evolving Family.

In Minnesota and throughout the country, there are no family law statutes that specifically address animals in the context of family law proceedings. Although technically speaking, pets are only property under family law statutes, Barbara is a pioneer in having human and companion animal best interests considered when the court utilizes its equitable discretion. She serves clients statewide, including in Anoka County, Hennepin County and Ramsey County.

Pets and Divorce

During divorce proceedings, attorneys rarely mention pets unless they have considerable fair market or monetary value – for example, a registered purebred puppy or thoroughbred horse. There may be no evaluation of which party is best able to care for the animal. Although one party may believe that he or she owns an animal, this opinion may be subject to challenge based on a variety of factors, including the payment of significant veterinary expenses by the other party. There is not even a space for pet food or veterinary care to be listed in most monthly living expense forms that lawyers provide to courts or mediation professionals.

Barbara is recognized for her work across the country in exposing these gaping holes in divorce law. She drafted a model law on the subject of pet custody and has worked with national and state associations to create animal law committees that are currently working to change the legal community’s views on animals.

Experienced Lawyer Resolving Dog, Cat, and Horse Ownership Disputes

To benefit from one of the country’s most accomplished pet custody attorneys, call the Twin Cities Law Office of Barbara J. Gislason in Anoka County at 763-220-2983 or email the firm to arrange a consultation.