Divorce Feud between Husband, Wife…and Sister-in-Law?

The owners of Greenwich Village restaurant Agave have erupted into all-out divorce war…over the family dog. And this isn’t even where the issue gets really odd. The war began when the husband’s sister filed a claim of ownership over the family dog. So much for the idea that your Colorado divorce attorney represents just the spouse or spouses in a split (yes, we know, Greenwich Village is in New York; allow us a little liberty!)

The claim filed by Margaret Healy is that she became attached to the dog after caring for it during the past two years as divorce lawyers have battled out the split for James O’Hanlon and Susan McCarthy (Healy is O’Hanlon’s sister). However, the 18-year-old daughter of the couple claims that the dog is hers.

Even worse, Healy is asking for $500,000 in damages based on heated arguments she has had with O’Hanlon over the issue. 18-year-old Slaney O’Hanlon, on the other hand, claims that the dog’s RFID chip clearly identifies her as the owner, and she hasn’t been involved in the dog’s care only because Healy’s husband is representing her dad, and as such visiting the dog would represent a conflict of interests.

So it is—there is a secondary war going on in family court over this already ugly divorce.

This story just goes to show that as much as divorce hurts the couple involved, the people (and pets) around them are all-too-often dragged into their wars, often as collateral damage. One might expect that the battles remain between family law attorneys and the couple, with extended family members siding with their blood relatives. However, this particular instance shows just how families can be torn apart by divorce—now Healy finds herself at odds with her own brother and niece over ownership of a beloved pet, and all because of the long and drawn-out divorce battle between O’Hanlon and McCarthy.

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