One phenomenon in Ohio and elsewhere is the importance of the family dog or dogs in the settlement agreement. When a married couple are both attached to the family dog, it can be difficult for them to agree on who gets the pet. To make matters worse, if the separation is particularly emotional, the parties may use the dog as a bargaining chip or a pawn against each other, much in the same way as some people use their children in an indefensible manner during a divorce.
The law offers little comfort in such matters because it essentially views dogs and other pets as property that is worth very little. The law has not yet evolved to recognize that such animals can be a person's most prized possession. For many people, a traditional market value analysis can never be accurate in measuring the intrinsic worth of the animal to its caretakers.