By Alexandra E. Cabonor, Esquire
Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas are separated after 18 years of marriage. They claim their divorce will be handled amicably. Melanie apparently already prepared for a custody battle, but this fight does not involve the couple's daughter. Their daughter, Estella, will be turning 18 in September, so there will not be a lengthy custody battle over her. Melanie has asked the court for primary custody, but this is seen to both parties as a non-issue. Melanie is however calling herself a better parent to the couple's three dogs. Melanie has apparently even said it would be in the dog's "best interest" to live with her, a standard which is usually reserved for child custody matters.
There are many considerations when going through a separation or a divorce. Matters of equitable distribution and child custody are typically at the forefront, but where do family pets fall into the mix? In Pennsylvania, pets are considered personal property. This means that when dividing assets, pets are legally viewed in the same light as a family car or home. This presents a unique conflict as most Americans consider their family pet as part of the family, rather than a possession of the family.