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A battle over a golden-doodle dog has increased the difficulty of the divorce process for a prominent couple in New York City, according to the New York Daily News.
James O’Hanlon and Susan McCarthy, who own the trendy Greenwich Village restaurant Agave, will reignite their battle in court. This new development will make the process more painful since they have already been warring in Nassau County Court for more than two years, the news source reported.
According to The Associated Press, the battle has expanded to include other members of the family, as the daughter of James O’Hanlon has now claimed that she is the rightful owner of the pooch. Slaney O’Hanlon alleges that she was given the pooch during the legal battle and should be granted custody, against the wishes of McCarthy.
Slaney’s aunt and James O’Hanlon’s sister, Margaret Healy, alleged that McCarthy had left the girl a nasty voicemail and went as far as following her in a car.
“I couldn’t believe she followed me in the car,” Healy told the Daily News. “I almost fainted.”
When a couple decides to get a divorce, many issues must be considered, such as property division, child custody and alimony. However, an increasing number of people are making sure not to forget the needs of their pets as their relationships dissolve.
In some cases, issues regarding custody of pets can cause unforeseen and vicious dog fights between exes. For other families, pet custody cases require the help of a divorce lawyer to sort them out. The Huffington Post reports that animals have become an increasingly important issue in divorces. For example, Harvard University offers a course on animal law and attorneys nationwide have seen a nearly 25 percent increase in pet custody cases, according to the news source.
The changing attitudes toward pets and divorce could be due to the fact that these animals used to be viewed as property but are now seen more as family members whose best interests must be considered.
According to the Seattle Times, many couples who choose to split up without a concrete arrangement regarding pets they once shared have run into trouble. Sometimes, simple arguments can arise regarding who feeds them and who walks them. However, other exes must square off about more serious issues, like how to proceed when the animals are old and sick.