Joint custody, visitation rights, continued care, and financial support—custody negotiations are no longer restricted to the kids, USA Today reports, as more ex-partners wrangle over the pooch. In a recent survey, 25% of divorce lawyers reported an increase in pet-custody issues, with 90% of those cases involving dogs. It’s a “very hotly contested issue,” said one attorney.
The dog “was important enough to me that I wanted to make a joint-custody agreement,” says a woman who shares with her ex. When divvying up pets, experts say a rational discussion of time, finances is best. "My hope is that (each) person will put aside his or her own desires and do what's best for the dog,” says one author. (Read more pets stories.)