Divorce with Pets
Pets are generally considered as ‘marital property’ in Georgia; our Gwinnett County divorce attorneys can help negotiate the care and custody of pets as part of any settlement in your case.
Pets play an important role in people’s lives, to the point that they are often considered to be family members. When a marriage breaks up and spouses opt to separate, questions concerning their care and who will retain custody can get quite heated. If you are considering getting a divorce in Georgia and have pets, it is important to be aware of practical considerations and how the court generally deals with these types of situations.
Keeping Your Pet After a Divorce
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) advises that there are millions of unwanted dogs, cats, and other animals sitting in shelters across the United States who were at one point beloved family pets. Sadly, domestic issues that occur within the home, such as a marital separation or a divorce, can prompt people to surrender these most vulnerable family members.
In many of the cases of divorce we deal with at Zimmerman & Associates, the divorcing couple is dedicated to their pet and surrendering it to a shelter is not an option. Disputes focus more on where the animal will live and who retains custody. Questions to consider in these types of cases include:
If you are moving out of the martial residence, will your new home allow for pets?
Is the amount of space available suitable for your pet?
Will you have the time and energy to walk with them and meet their recreational needs?
Do you have the financial resources to provide for food, grooming, and any veterinary needs they have?
Custody Issues Concerning Pets in Divorce
While pets are generally considered family and may even substitute for children with some couples, it is important to understand how the court views them when it comes to issues such as custody and visitation. For practical purposes, pets are considered property under the Georgia Code in relation to divorce proceedings. This means that the rights to them will likely be included as part of any divorce settlement or order issued in your case.
In determining who retains custody of pets when a couple separates and goes through a divorce, there are several factors the court will consider:
Whether the pet was adopted or purchased before or during the marriage;
Whether it belonged primarily to one of the spouses or whether both were involved in its care;
Whether there are children of the marriage, who may be emotionally attached to the pet and impacted by any plans made;
Whether the couple is willing to work together in arranging for custody and periodic visitation.
Our Norcross, GA Divorce Attorneys are Here to Help
At Zimmerman & Associates, we understand how important pets are and can negotiate a customized custody and visitation plan for them, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. To discuss this and other important divorce related matters, call or contact our Gwinnett County divorce attorneys online and request a consultation today.