Bitter divorce battles often include the following elements: homes, alimony, child and canine custody. Yes, you read that right - canine custody! Divorce settlements in the UK now include a clause on "dog-visiting rights" too.
Lawyers in Britain reveal that legal documents are being drawn up to set out dog-visiting rights, and to state which party gets the custody of the pet.
According to them, the cost of custody battle of the dog has reached more than 5,000 pounds in some cases, and that divorcing couples are also taking the help of animal behavior experts to bolster their cases.
The study carried out earlier this year by Grant Thornton, the accountancy firm, showed that women were awarded the family pet in 78 per cent of divorces.
Citing a recent case, Martin Loxley, head of family law at the Sheffield-based solicitors' firm Irwin Mitchell, revealed that a couple had signed a legal agreement to share all responsibility for their two Labradors without splitting the dogs up.
"They agreed to share care - one party takes care of them one weekend and then they swap," the Telegraph quoted Loxley as telling The Observer.
"To all intents and purposes they are both responsible. With animals it becomes very emotional.
"It's almost a peg on which to hang all the other frustrations and to try and get the better of the other person," he added.