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Three Things People Don’t Expect to Fight Over in a Divorce

When it is time to call it quits on a marriage, couples have certain expectations – some positive and some negative. Divorcing couples might expect to get some of their time and energy back after years of constant fighting. They may also expect some financial setbacks. But there are also those things people would never imagine having to think about, let alone fight over, when splitting up. Here are just three of them.

#1 – Who gets the pets?

Americans likely love their pets more than those in any other country in the world. In fact, according the 2011 Pet Ownership and Demographic Sourcebook, there are approximately 70 million pet dogs and 74 million pet cats in America. What’s more, pets are central to our lives. Over 63 percent of pet owners consider their pets part of the family. So what happens when pet owners get divorced?

There are several key considerations that may make the difference:

Whose pet is it?

It is probably relevant that one person owned a cat in college, years before getting married, and the cat has now become a part of the family over the years. Likewise, perhaps the pet was a gift for one spouse before getting married. In these cases, there is a strong argument that one spouse should keep the pet.

Where will the kids be?

If there are children, the pets are likely a big part of their lives. Indeed, although adults get stuck with all the responsibility, children often reap the greatest enjoyment of pet ownership. Therefore, the pet may be better suited to living wherever the children will spend most of their time.

Who is in the best position to care for the pet?

If one spouse will be living in the family home and the other is moving to an urban high-rise apartment, the family’s St. Bernard is probably better off staying at the house.

Other considerations

Remember that pets are not people no matter how much we treated them as such. The law treats them as personal property, so they are treated the same way we treat coffee tables and cars. Although most courts will consider the emotional factors and make sure the animal is in a safe place, it is unwise to make pets the center of large debates and arguments. Think financially and think about the kids.

#2 – What do we do with all these pictures?

There was a time when photo albums contained a family’s memories and were treasured possessions. They held all the captured images of children in kindergarten, the first Christmas, first steps, and many other memorable occasions that both parents would no doubt want to have. These often became the source of great contention. Today, however, social media and flash drives have become the primary source of storing digital images. National Geographic estimates that Americans took over 105 billion digital photos in 2015.

When people divorce, it may be difficult to share all those photos. However, the easiest way to avoid fighting and make sure each person can choose what to keep and what to delete is to simply buy cloud storage. For as little as 99 cents, you can buy a significant amount of storage. Pay for a couple months, give each person access, and then start uploading everything you have. Agree on a set amount of time to go in and find what you want. At the end of that time period, stop paying and close the account. This gives each person time to download and save anything they want.

#3 – Who wants these wedding gifts?

Most people are not interested in keeping their wedding dress after a divorce, but some do. And to be sure, few husbands will genuinely fight their wives for the wedding dress. But what about those expensive wedding gifts? Silver serving sets, kitchenware, and China can all cause big disputes. These should be treated just like any other financial asset. They have a monetary value. Find out what it is, how much it is worth, and what it would cost to replace. Agree on a dollar value and go from there. Similarly, consider whether you really want the item or even have a use for it. If you are looking forward to living the “bachelor’s life” again, unless you are a pastry chef, think twice about causing a big fight over the expensive stand mixer your in-laws bought you and your wife for your wedding.

Ultimately, there is no limit to the things people overlook when getting divorced. If you are in the Orlando area and considering a divorce, make sure you hire an lawyer who can help you navigate the process. Experience counts. Orlando lawyer Amy Goodblatt looks for issues the parties may not consider on their own in a divorce, and understands that every divorce is unique. Contact her office today.

GOODBLATT · LEO is located and serves clients in and around Orlando, FL.

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