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Pets caught in middle of divorces trending in Jacksonville

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Updated: 7/25/2013 6:49 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Lawyers say it's a trend they are seeing increase, people trying to get joint custody of their animals.

"I've offered shared custody with my soon to be ex-wife." dog owner Micky sands said.

Jacksonville local Micky Sands is in the process of going through a divorce, and like many other couples in the same situation, sands wanted to make sure he got to see his dog.

"You have to care for them like you do your children. their unconditional love is what they give you." Sands said.

Lawyer Stefani Nolan tells action news it's this attachment to animals, that has more people fighting to keep them after a divorce.

"They really do consider it their child." Lawyer Stefani Nolan said.

But in Florida, animals are considered property.

"Animals are treated just like the chair," Nolan said.

So deciding who gets custody usually happens in mediation.

"If a person had ownership of the animal before the marriage or one owner is taking more care of the animal in determining who would get ownership after the divorce." Nolan said.

Nolan tells us Jacksonville has a highest rate of divorce, another contributing factor to why she thinks the fight to keep animals, is seen more often here.

"We're a military town so that's another reason why we have a lot more divorces here in Jacksonville," Nolan said.

As for Sands, he got what he wanted, more time with his baby girl and best friend.

Lawyers don't see these cases decreasing anytime soon, especially since Jacksonville is such a dog friendly community.

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