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Georgia Pet Custody: Who Gets the Dog in a Georgia Divorce?

When it comes to a divorce between a couple that has decided to end their marriage, the opportunity for conflict is limitless. Most people think of the marital home, retirement plans and child custody when litigation in a divorce proceeding comes to mind. However, anything that is valued by the husband and wife within the home is ripe as a source of dispute, even the family pet. When an inability to compromise is present the court will have to decide the matter. To that end, the court will use equitable division to decide the issue of which parent receives the pet.

A variety of factors can go into this decision. Typically, it is best to use a commonsense approach to resolving this matter. For instance, similar to the role of being a parent to a child, there is typically one spouse who is more involved in caring for the family pet. Evidence of this can be presented to the court in the form of:

  • Testimony from members of the household regarding each household member’s role caring for the pet
  • Testimony or other evidence showing pre-marital ownership of the pet.
  • Photographs of interactions with the family pet
  • Videos of interactions with the family pet, and
  • Veterinary bills

If children are involved, it will also weigh heavily on the court’s decision-making process. Typically, one of the strongest bonds between members of the household and family pets are amongst the children of the household. To that end, the parent that receives primary custody of the children will be at an advantage when it comes to the decision as to which household will receive the family pet. Lastly, another possible outcome is sharing the family pet between the two separate households. This will typically be the best resolution, especially if children are involved that desire to spend time with their pet as they move back and forth between the two households.

Every issue or conflict is resolvable if the couples are able to compromise during the legal proceedings. Most spouses that have children are able to set their differences aside for the benefit of their children. In instances where a resolution cannot be achieved, the court will consider factors, such as those mentioned above, and come to a fair resolution. Regardless, in any dispute related to a divorce legal proceeding it is important to consult with an experienced family law and divorce attorney. The Faucette Law Firm, LLC represents clients in contested and uncontested divorce cases, legitimation, child custody, child support, modification and adoptions. Contact our office today for a consultation.