If you have pets and are thinking about divorcing your partner, you should think about how your situation affects them. Georgia is one of several states that view pets as property in divorce. Although you consider your pets as family members, you should not rely on the courts to be as considerate when determining custody and visitation. It is up to you and your spouse to plan your divorce with them in mind.
Pet visitation schedules are becoming more popular with separating couples. These enable people to maintain their relationships with their pets and minimize the effects of their divorce on the animals. Pet visitation clauses also establish custodial and financial responsibilities for each party in a divorce so the pets can continue to enjoy the quality of life they are accustomed to.
Pet custody and visitation
There is no way for you to know if the judge who presides over your divorce is going to be considerate of your pets, their custody and needs. Therefore, you should discuss key elements with your partner to determine what is best for your animals. When discussing pet custody, take into consideration these factors:
- Who takes care of your pets' basic and daily needs
- Which partner is in the best position to financially provide for them
- What things you can do to make your separation easier on your animals
- The type of pets you have — for example, cats are less tolerant of changing environments than dogs
You may be attached to the pets that you and your partner have together. But you must not let your feelings take control. Try to keep a clear mind when making decisions about your pets’ well-being during your divorce. Sometimes it is best for animals to stay with the person they came into the relationship with. Also, if there is more than one pet, it may be easier to split them if they content with being separated.
Whether you and your partner decide to share custody of your pets or to each take one, work together to keep your remaining relationship with each other on good terms. The end of your marriage should not have to mean the end of your time with your animal companions.