Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Who Gets the Dog in Divorce?

“Disputes over pet custody most commonly occur when a couple, married or unmarried, breaks up and both partners want custody of the animal.” stories.avvo.com. “A pet owner might feel that his or her beloved pet is like a child, but Georgia courts simply view pets as personal property.” www.ksfamilylaw.com. “Because pets are personal property legally, the courts do not have to consider their best interest in awarding ownership.” www.animallaw.info.

If parties cannot agree to custody of the family pet then the Georgia Court will apply its equitable division standard. “Equity seeks to do that which is fair, and what is fair is not necessarily equal - not in Georgia.” www.avvo.com.

In many pet custody issues, parties reach an agreement outside of Court regarding the family pet to avoid fighting in Court over another highly emotional topic. If the parties can not agree on custody of the pet, mediation may be recommended to work out the details outside of Court. Some parties even agree to scheduled visitation with the family pet to suit both parties. “Having a signed and notarized pet agreement in place early on in a marriage can help prevent bitter custody battles and heartache in the unfortunate event of divorce.” www.rover.com.

It is best to talk to your spouse about long-time family pets as part of your divorce discussion as it can often be an additional difficult and highly emotional subject. The law often leaves devoted pet owners dissatisfied and therefore it is recommended that parties work out these details together or through legal counsel. “Decide what is best for your pet; put aside your own feelings to reach that decision.” www.divorce360.com.

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