Most Americans do not have limitless funds to get involved in frivolous, almost ridiculous legal actions involving divorce. However, celebrities are a different breed entirely, and many will happily spend hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of dollars in an effort to “get even” during a divorce. But what about a pet custody battle? Is this a bridge too far for even the most wealthy of animal lovers? Or are celebrities really willing to go to court and hire expensive lawyers just to keep hold of a dog? Well, you probably already know the answer to this question…

Cheryl Burke and Matthew Lawrence Get Ready for a Dog Custody Battle

On October 11th, it was reported that Cheryl Burke and her ex-husband Matthew Lawrence were planning to go to court over the custody of their dog. These two celebrities are best known for their appearances in the reality TV show Dancing with the Stars. However, Matthew is a former child star who also continues to earn royalties and residuals from his early career. Essentially, the divorce was pretty fair in terms of financial details, with neither spouse paying alimony and each party receiving their own royalties from their entertainment career. This was largely due to a solid premarital agreement that neither party challenged in court. However, it seems as though they are in danger of draining all of their earnings from their entertainment careers in an upcoming legal battle over the custody of their dog – a young female canine by the name of Ysabella. 

How Much Will it Cost?

So how much will this celebrity doggy custody battle actually cost Burke and Lawrence? According to various sources, the highest-paid lawyers for celebrity divorces can charge up to $850 an hour or more. Considering the fact that these two celebrities are actually willing to go to trial over the custody of their dog, it seems likely that they will both incur hundreds of thousands of additional legal fees. In addition to the hourly rate, many celebrity divorce lawyers ask for retainers of about $25,000. For what it is worth, Burke’s lawyer is Mr. Scott Klopert, who has experience with both child custody issues and the distribution of assets in a divorce. 

Why are They Doing This?

The real question is simple: Why on Earth would Burke and Lawrence waste so much money on the custody of a dog? Well, as any pet owner will tell you, dogs can play a central role in our lives – and in many ways, they are just like another family member. Indeed, this is exactly how Burke referred to the pet, stating: “I’m just still really hurt by the whole situation. You know, that’s my dog. Ysabella is my daughter. I’m a dog mom. And that’s it. I can’t even imagine my life. I mean, I could just cry right now but, like, couldn’t imagine my life without her.”