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A pet may also experience emotional changes after a divorce

After the vows to love, honor and cherish have stopped resonating in the hearts and minds of a couple, the relationship may be over. After careful deliberation, it may become apparent that the best option is to file for a divorce. In many situations, Maryland families may struggle to peacefully resolve all of the issues that need to be settled after the decision to live separate lives.

According to some researchers, humans aren't the only sentient beings who struggle to understand what has occurred when a couple breaks up. They say that the family dog also undergoes behavioral changes in the aftermath of a divorce or other separation. A dog is unable to process events in the same manner that its owners do, instead reacting to the actions, emotions and physical changes in the animal's immediate environment.

Owners may perceive their pet's reactions as a form of grief for the loss of the other human in their life or as empathy for their owner. That may not be the case, though, according to research carried out at canine behavior study centers. Dogs may experience anxiety, destructive urges, aggression or nervousness as a reaction to the behaviors of those who are still in their life. Even small changes in their accustomed routines can cause dogs to display abnormal behaviors. Fortunately, once the owner is able to adjust to his or her new lifestyle, a pet will often adjust its behavior and may return to its pre-divorce nature.

Many couples may desire to continue to share the pet and arrange a custody schedule much like ones that are set-up for children. Canine behaviorists caution that it is important to consider the dog's nature before deciding to share ownership between homes as a more withdrawn pet may not thrive in these situations. Regardless of whether a pet is involved, Maryland families may find that there are many divorce issues on which agreement cannot be reached. In these circumstances, an experienced family law attorney can provide useful advice in order to help facilitate the process as peacefully as possible.

Source:, "Serious Question: Is My Dog Handling This Breakup Okay?", Cari Romm, Feb. 15, 2017

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