I have seen a dramatic increase in clients inquiring about custody of their pet(s). Under Connecticut law, pets are considered property - like a house, car or other asset.
Many pet owners view their pets as any other member of the family. In the eyes of the law though, companion animals are viewed as though they are pieces of personal property.
A recent survey found that 20% of divorced or separated pet owners are drafting written agreements to formalize custody arrangements. Other per owners are drafting agreements before a breakup, a "prepup", which details custody and other decisions for the pet in the event of a breakup.
There is a bill before the legislature which would increase the amount of damages a pet owner can recover if their pet is attacked.
Informative article in the NY Daily News on January 8, 2011. The article suggests that rather than leaving a pet in their will that the pet owner should create a pet trust and name the trust as a beneficiary of the life insurance policy. Connecticut recently enacted a statute authorizing the creation of trusts for the care of domestic animals - C.G.S 45-489a.
Legislation which would require the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Department of Agriculture to cross-report animal cruelty and child abuse is is being reintroduced.