A recent article published in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly discussed a case in Middlesex Probate & Family Court where an attorney in a divorce case asked the judge to order one spouse to pay "pet support" to the other spouse to care for the couples' two dogs. The judge immediately refused the request. The article noted that the judge had just heard a series of cases that involved foreclosed houses and parents losing their jobs.
This illustrates an issue that many divorcing couples face when going through the court process. Courts usually only have the time and resources to deal with the "big" issues -- alimony, child custody and support, and property division. That doesn't neatly fit for families that have a variety of other issues, such as pet support or visitation, property sharing, and care taking approaches unique to a child's specific and unique needs.
The best way to address these issues is to come to an agreement on the issue and include the resolution in a separation agreement which can then be presented to a judge. Many couples choose to do this by hiring their own attorneys to work out a negotiation with the other spouse's attorney. An increasing number of couples are also choosing to hire a mediator to meet with both spouses and discuss the questions and concerns that each individual has with the intention of facilitating an agreement.
Attorney Kelsey has been advocating on behalf of clients for years as a family law trial attorney, and is also a trained family law mediator in Massachusetts. Should you have any questions about individual representation or mediation, contact Attorney Justin L. Kelsey, or call 508.655.5980 to schedule a one hour initial consultation.
The Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article referenced in this post can be found with a subscription at www.masslawyersweekly.com.
Special thanks to Christopher Boylan of Walter A. Costello, Jr. & Associates for his assistance in this post.