Numerous families across the country, including many here in New Hampshire, consider their pets part of the family. They would never consider getting rid of them like they would a couch or a set of china. Even so, many of the family courts across the country continue to treat pets as property.

The reason for this viewpoint comes from the historical fact that pets, particularly dogs, were more working animals that helped their owners make money in one way or another. Over time, dogs moved from being a source of income to companions. Many millennials give their pets the same love and support they would children. This could result at least partially from the fact that millennials are not having children at the rate of their parents and grandparents.

The birth rate in 2018 was the lowest this country has seen in approximately 32 years. A majority of women and more than half of men use the term “fur baby” when referring to their pets. More than two million pets had health insurance in 2018 as well. The market for veterinarians and veterinarian technicians could grow as much as 20% by 2028, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What all this means for divorce proceedings is there may come a time when pet custody hearings will be normal. However, for now, New Hampshire residents getting a divorce who want to keep their pets could still have battle ahead of them. With the help of a family law attorney, they may find a strategy that could provide them with the outcome they desire.