Monday, April 25, 2011

Would Solomon have Split the Dog in Half?

(this is something I posted on another forum in August that I'm reposting here in case it gets deleted there)

Fortunately we don’t have to know because in today’s legal arena you can split time. That’s what Judge Graydon S. McKee III (retired), sitting on the Circuit Court for Calvert County, has recently done.One of the difficult issues in any divorce is how to split up the property. It is almost always better to come to an agreement for the court to approve. If the parties don’t agree on how to divide a piece of marital property, then the court usually orders the property sold and the proceeds split equitably. What about the family dog?In Maryland, pets are considered property. If the parties can’t agree who gets to keep the pet, the court can order it sold and the money split. The reality is that people don’t consider their pets just like other property. In the recent case of Meyers v. Meyers, Judge McKee did not think that was a good solution, so in an unprecedented move he ordered Craig Meyers have possession of the dog 6 months out of the year and Gayle Meyers have possession the other 6 months.This was a possibly risky move in a precarious area of the law. Pets are more and more being considered part of the family, but the law still considers them property. If this case were to be appealed the decision could easily be thrown out. Then again, if it were a part of a negotiated separation agreement it would not. That is more reason why coming to an agreement with each other is better than having a decision thrust on you by the court. Not every judge will be as innovative as Judge McKee.

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