Many people consider their pets as part of the family, I certainly do! However, the law categorizes pets as property to be divided during a divorce. In many cases, the pet is awarded to only one spouse, thus preventing the other spouse from seeing their pet. But some courts might take an approach that more resembles child custody than property division when it comes to pet custody.
Georgia courts determine pet custody based on numerous factors. Because Georgia law considers pets as property, property division laws apply.
Georgia is an equitable division state, meaning that courts will divide the marital property in a fair and equitable manner. Equitable does not mean equal, so the court may not necessarily split the property down the middle.
The court will consider all of the couple’s marital property that is subject to division, and divide it in a way it deems fair and just. The pets are lumped in with the rest of the property. But this brings up an important point: when the pet was acquired can affect these cases, was it purchased during the marriage? Or was the pet purchase prior to the marriage? It is important to acquire documentation to show the data purchase being separate or marital?
What factors does the court consider before awarding to either spouse?
Which spouse is more responsible for caring for the pet
Which spouse has closer relationship with the pet
Which spouse spends more time with the pet
Which spouse, if any, has been abusive or neglectful of the pet
It is important to gather documentation, photos, testimony, and other evidence to create a clear picture of your relationship with the pet, helping the court answer these questions.
On occasion, the parties can agree to shared custody of a pet or for pet visitation. The court can also award visitation or shared custody of a pet. This also requires typically the party share continued expenses for a pet such as food, vet bills, etc.
Breaking up is hard to do, but when you have a pet involved and children it makes the process more challenging. Sometimes need a party can take the pets and we locate homes on behalf of the client. At Candace M. Williams P.C., we love your pets, and ensure that your pets have a voice through the divorce process too!
Call us today 678–316–5000, or message us on Facebook and a prompt response will be provided.