A divorce forces couples to split up mounds of belongs. But what do you do when that belonging is a16-pound gray-black Lhasa Apso?
When Gayle and Craig Myers decided to get divorced, they didn't know what to do with their dog “Lucky,” so they took the battle to court.
Under Maryland law, family pets -- unlike, say, children -- are treated as jointly owned marital property and sold if the divorcing couple cannot agree on who gets to keep them. The parties then split the proceeds of the sale. But the standard resolution did not seem right to retired Prince George's County Circuit Judge Graydon S. McKee III, according to the Daily Record of Baltimore.
The judge, presiding over the limited-divorce proceeding by special assignment, decided on his own last month that Gayle and Craig, who have no children, would split custody of Lucky. The dog will alternate spending six months with each party. Gayle’s turn began on July 1.
The judge rendered his decision after hearing testimony from Gayle, who lives in Alexandria, Va., and Craig, who resides in Dunkirk, Md.
"It was very clear that both of them love this dog equally," McKee said. "The only fair thing to do was to give each one an equal chance to share in the love of the dog."
Had either side objected to the unusual resolution, McKee said, he would have applied the law and might have ordered the dog put in the care of a trustee, sold and the proceeds divided.
"I really applied good old common sense that my grandmother taught me when I was a little kid,'' said McKee, who retired in 2007 as chief judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, which includes Calvert County. "Treat other people the way you would want to be treated if you were in that situation."