How is pet custody decided?

pet custodyFor many couples, pets are part of the family. When a couple separates or divorces, then there may be a disagreement about who gets custody of the pet. These disagreements can be stressful and the law does not necessarily set forth clear standards about how to address issues related to pets. For legal advice and assistance with addressing pet custody, contact an Atlanta pet custody lawyer. 

How is pet custody decided in Georgia? 

Georgia law considers pets as property, so pet custody is treated similarly to the division of property in a divorce. In general, a court will seek to divide property in a fair and equitable manner. For pets, there is not always a clear way to determine what is fair and equitable under the circumstances. 

If the pet was owned by one of the spouses prior to the marriage, received as a gift or inheritance, then those facts may result in the pet being deemed as that spouse’s separate property. If the pet is considered to be separate property, then the other spouse may not have a claim to the pet. 

If the pet was acquired during the marriage and was not otherwise received by gift or inheritance, then it will be considered as marital property. If the pet is marital property, then it will be considered with all of the other marital property and debts as to how each is to be divided. 

What factors may a court consider in determining pet custody? 

The law in Georgia does not specifically set forth factors to assess in deciding pet custody as it does with child custody. However, in assessing what is fair and equitable, the court may consider certain facts. These may include: 

  • Who primarily took care of the pet?
  • Which spouse is more responsible?
  • Which spouse has the time and ability to care for the pet?
  • Has one spouse been abusive or neglectful to the pet?
  • If children are involved, which parent will have primary custody of the children?
  • What property is each spouse receiving in the divorce?
  • Which spouse has a closer bond with the pet?

man with his catIf you are the party seeking custody of the pet, then you will want to demonstrate that each of these factors, if applicable, weighs in your favor. You can prove your case through the presentation of witnesses and other evidence, such as photographs, video recordings, vet records, and any other relevant information. 

Can divorced spouses share custody of a pet? Divorced spouses can agree to a shared pet custody situation, where each has the right to spend time with your pet. In some situations, a court may order a shared pet custody schedule. If both spouses want to have time with the pet, then reaching an agreement may be the best way to guarantee this time. An agreement can be facilitated through dispute resolution methods, such as mediation. An Atlanta divorce and pet custody can assist in arranging mediation and developing a workable schedule. 

Why should you seek assistance from an Atlanta pet custody attorney? 

A pet custody lawyer in Atlanta can provide legal representation in divorce and help you pursue custody of your pet. We will help you understand your options and develop a plan to pursue your desired outcome. We will advocate for a pet custody schedule that is fair and equitable under the circumstances. We will pursue whatever action is necessary to accomplish your goals. 

If you need assistance with pet custody issues in Georgia, contact The Fuller Law Group to schedule a consultation appointment.