When a marriage has gone to the dogs and divorce is inevitable, a couple may end up fighting over who the dogs will go to. Canine custody can be chaotic, especially if the couple are celebrities. Yes, we can thank celebrities (again) for bringing to the public eye one of the silent victims of divorce: pets.
Many couples consider pets as family members, which is why it’s understandable that couples fight over their custody. However, in divorce cases, pets are treated more as property and the fight becomes an issue of ownership. For this reason, it makes sense that couples include their fur babies when drawing up a prenuptial agreement. A pet-nup can spare divorcing couples from catty behavior toward each other during divorce proceedings, and they will also spare their pets of a difficult post-marriage life.
Here’s how the following celebrities fared when dealing with their menagerie during divorce.
Irates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard
In one of the most public and acrimonious celebrity uncouplings in recent years, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard not only divorced but also sued one another for defamation. You can binge-watch the documentary series about it on Netflix, which also raise questions about reality versus the court of public opinion.
Many people tend to overlook that during the divorce, Johnny and Amber fought for custody of their two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo. The two actors never had children of their own; Pistol was from Amber’s previous relationship with Tasya van Ree, but Johnny wanted custody of Pistol too. Amber eventually triumphed in the divorce settlement, taking custody of both dogs as well as her horse named Arrow.
Nevertheless, the two didn’t hesitate weaponizing their pets in their ensuing libel lawsuit. Johnny even accused Amber of defecating on his side of the bed after they had a fight, but Amber passed the blame onto the dogs. Amber testified that one time, Johnny grabbed Boo and held the dog outside the window of a moving vehicle while “he’s howling like an animal.”
It’s a good thing Pistol and Boo do not read social media. Otherwise, they might request their former fur parents to stop barking up the wrong tree and leave them out of their fight.
Wrangling over horses and dogs: Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert
Country superstars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert made beautiful music together during their four years of marriage. But when their relationship hit a wrong chord, they decided it was time to hit "stop." The couple, who had married in 2011, announced on July 20, 2015 that they were separating, saying that, “This is not the future we envisioned.” Hours after the announcement, the couple finalized their divorce. The two were savvy enough to draw up a prenup before they got married, so it was easy to determine the division of assets. Blake kept the Oklahoma ranch, while Miranda kept her Nashville home. The prenup also allowed the judge to sign off on the divorce papers immediately.
However, the two missed out on making a pet-nup agreement.
Miranda, who is a huge animal rights activist, had rescued and adopted several puppies during her marriage to Blake. She has a Chihuahua/pug, a Chihuahua, a terrier mix, a hound, and two golden retrievers. She also has two pigs, three cats, three mini-horses, three horses, and a flock of chickens.
The couple announced that Blake would keep his own horse, while Miranda would keep the horses he bought for her. Miranda would also be allowed to bring all her adopted animals to Nashville, including most of the dogs that belonged to her.
But they hit a snag with Emmylou, a dog Miranda rescued from a ditch in 2012. Emmylou had become Blake’s favorite, and Blake would even let Emmylou sleep in their bed at night. Due to a lack of a pet-nup, the ex-couple had to wrangle over Emmylou. Eventually, Blake decided to let Emmylou go with Miranda to keep the divorce amicable.
Fur friends with benefits: Justin Theroux and Jennifer Aniston
The two married in 2015; three years later, Jennifer and Justin announced their divorce. Their joint statement said the split was “mutual and lovingly made at the end” of 2018, and that they would remain friends. Signing an ironclad prenuptial agreement before tying the knot may have kept things mutual.
A cordial divorce may have helped the two figure out what to do with the three dogs they shared between them: Dolly, Sophie, and Clyde. Though inside sources said coming up with an arrangement wasn’t easy, the two agreed to share custody of their pets.
In the absence of a pet-nup, it helps if both parties agree that they’ll be there for their pets.
Divorce in a dog-eat-dog world
Uncoupling can be difficult and painful. Get all the legal help you need at Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams. We provide quality legal services for as long as you need them. Want peace of mind when dealing with family and personal injury issues? Contact us today.