Open Letter To Mandy Moore: Pet Custody & How To Keep Your “Little Zoo” Intact

Dear Mandy,

I have been a big fan of yours since “A Walk To Remember” but more than your work in Hollywood, I admire you even more for your love and care for rescue animals. I can only imagine what an amazing pet parent you are to your cats Theo and Vincent, Maddie and Addison and 3 feral cats, in addition to your 2 dogs, Joni and Jackson.

Like many of your fans, my heart breaks to hear about your divorce. I hope that in this difficult time, you find comfort with your family, your furry family and friends.

After news broke in Hollywood circles, pet lovers and Tangled fans are now wondering what will happen to your pets pending your divorce. Like many individuals going through divorce, pet custody will be a big issue in your divorce as I am sure they have become your “children” and are an integral part of your life.

As a fan and family law attorney, may I offer some suggestions on how to make this transition easier?

In divorce, many pet parents make the hard decision on who gets the family pet after the end of the relationship. It’s the “practical” thing to do for many pet parents. However, dividing pets in a divorce may not always be the answer, especially if you have a “little zoo” of pets that are tightly bonded with each other. One suggestion then, is to create a pet parenting plan that allows you and Ryan to share custody of your pets following your divorce. A creative pet parenting plan could mean all of your pets spend one week with you and then the next week with Ryan. Or it could mean the pets are with you during the week and with Ryan on weekends.

Essentially, a pet parenting plan could be anything you and Ryan agree to. What’s important however, is that pet parenting plans allows you and Ryan to continue your role as parents to your beloved animals. Divorce doesn’t mean your role as a pet parent ends after the demise of the relationship. If anything, a creative pet parenting plan allows you to continue to be the wonderful pet parents that you are and maintain this relationship with your furry friends.

A pet parenting plan will also give your pets a sense of stability now that their living environment is changing. And a good way to determine if your pets are adjusting well to a parenting plan is to observe any changing behaviors. Over time, you and Ryan will settle into a pet parenting plan that works for you and your pet family.

I only wish you the best and many continued success in your career and personal life. You are already a role model in Hollywood, but as a pet advocate, you will set a wonderful standard for many other pet parents dealing with pet custody issues in divorce.

Yours Truly,

Caroline Choi
Family Law Attorney


Silver Linings

Going through divorce can be overwhelming and emotionally draining for couples.  There are few divorces where an individual leaves the situation unscathed.  But regardless of the difficulties you may experience in divorce, I believe there are silver linings in these challenging circumstances.  That is why I felt it important to list some of the silver linings I have noticed in some of the more common divorce problems.  Check out my article on Huffington Post for a look at some of the silver linings in divorce.

As a family law attorney it is so rewarding to witness the transformation of a client going through divorce.  Yes, a client may go through the ringer in a divorce, but usually he/she comes out stronger and empowered.  It really goes to show that while trials and tribulation may be heart wrenching, difficulties make us stronger and builds our character.


Alcoholism & Divorce

Through the years that I’ve practiced family law, I have noticed a link between addictions and divorce.  Many times, divorces happen because one or both spouses have addictions related to alcohol, drugs, sex and even shopping!  Now there is a study to back up some of my observations over the years.  This study, recently released by the intellectuals over at Harvard has been in the making for 75 YEARS!  This study, focused on what makes men happy, found that alcoholism is the single strongest cause of divorce between men and their wives.  Wow!  Another good reason to drink in moderation right?!  Check out the article here.


Healthy Marriage Tips

I recently wrote an article discussing my tips on how to maintain a healthy marriage.  As a divorce attorney, I hear a lot of interesting stories about relationships.   And as time goes on and the more stories I hear, it becomes pretty obvious that there are certain things that contribute to the demise of a relationship. That is why I decided to write an article outlining some of the key ways you can ensure a solid foundation for a healthy relationship.  I like to call this “marriage management.”

My tips to maintain a healthy relationship?  Keep the romance alive and continue to date throughout your marriage even when things get busy with work and kids; respect and kindness towards one another; transparency and communication so there is healthy dialogue. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of things you and your spouse can do to keep the relationship on solid ground.  However, this is certainly a starting point in creating a solid foundation day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year.  One step at a time!

What are your tips for maintaining a healthy relationship?


Pet Parenting Plans

In my last blog post, I introduced the concept of pet parenting plans.  In my new Huffington Post article, I discuss this concept in more detail, outlining some creative ideas for pet parenting plans.  I think crafting a creative pet parenting plan is a brilliant idea if you and your ex-spouse are fighting over the division of your family pet.   For a pet parent, a dog or cat or bunny is not just a “thing” but a valuable member of the family….so it makes sense to come up with a creative plan so that the pet relationship can be maintained even after a split.

Do you and your ex-spouse share custody of the family pet? If so, how do you split timeshare?



Who Gets The Family Pet In Divorce?

Pets are becoming increasingly integrated into the family unit.  So when couples decide to divorce, one of the harder decisions they will have to make will be about who gets the family pet.

I can’t imagine the difficulty in making this decision.  I am a pet lover and I can’t wait to get my mini ginger goldendoodle (from Copper Canyon Goldendoodles in Utah):  Adorable right?

So what happens when you’re divorcing and a pet is involved?  I recently wrote an article for The Huffington Post about pet custody.  Is there such thing as pet custody like there are child custody orders issued by courts?  Not really….and that’s because pets are considered “property” under the law and not a person.  And because pets are not legally treated the same as “children” many couples heading for divorce are becoming a lot more creative when dealing with the division of a pet.  In my article, I look at some of the things you should consider when you are dealing with divorce and have pets, including pet parenting plans.

A pet parenting plan is creative indeed and could help ease the pain of the divorce, knowing that your pet will still be a part of your life.

What do you think of pet parenting plans?