On January 17, 2017, legislation amending Alaska’s divorce law took effect, making it the first state in the country to require the court to consider the well-being of a pet when distributing property during the divorce process. While companion animals have historically been considered property – no different or better than a television or a car – this change reflects an understanding that pets occupy a unique role in our lives. In fact, Alaska’s new law allows a court to order joint ownership of pets after the divorce. Virginia law continues to treat pets as mere property, with little indication that change may be on the horizon.
Below are links to the Washington Post story on the new law and Alaska HB 147: