You’re undoubtedly a busy person if you are working through the details of an Arkansas divorce.

Many couples dissolving their marriage understandably focus on a great many matters en route to changing their legal status and embarking on a new chapter of life. We note on our family law website at Robertson, Oswalt, Nony & Associates in Little Rock the “many legal changes that may have to be addressed.” Those can range widely from complex asset division and alimony concerns to considerations central to child custody/visitation and the enforcement of marital agreements.

And let us not forget the pets.

Although for some that might sound like a trivial addition to a list of key divorce matters, we know that many our readers think otherwise. A commentator in a recent online overview of pet-centric considerations in divorce rightly notes that, “The intensity people can invest in a pet is phenomenal, because they view it as a member of the family.”

Candidly, courts have not always been in lock step with that sentiment. Judges are busy individuals who have been historically prone to regard animals as akin to personal assets and thus subject to equitable property division in a marital dissolution.

The above article notes what strong evidence culled from across the country stresses is a changing “trend” in law and judicial thinking concerning pet-related divorce matters, though. We all know that pets are not children, of course, but we know equally well too that husbands, wives, sons and daughters do indeed have strong and enduring love for their pets.

Divorce can complicate things, especially if acrimony attaches to questions surrounding the ultimate fate of a beloved animal companion. Many courts these days are more prone than in prior years to addressing the “animal issue” in divorce, especially if children are involved.

A divorcing party who knows that pet-linked issues are going to be of some importance in a dissolution might reasonably want to timely confer with an experienced family law attorney. A seasoned divorce lawyer can discuss applicable laws concerning the subject matter and, if necessary, lend guidance regarding a visiting plan or other crafted arrangement that best promotes the concerns of all family members.

Pets are cherished friends and companions. It is anything but surprising that their well-being and future care is a core concern in many divorces.