If you do not have children, you may believe your divorce is likely to be an easy and straightforward process. After all, unlike many other Georgians who decide to end their marriages, you do not have to come up with a custody arrangement or parenting plan. If you have a cat, though, your divorce may become more complex than you expect.
Georgia is an equitable distribution jurisdiction. This means each spouse usually receives a fair share of the marital estate. While you may not end up with exactly half of what you and your spouse own, you should receive an equitable percentage of your marital assets.
Your cat is property under Georgia law
Despite being a flesh-and-blood creature, your cat is property under Georgia law. If you adopted your furry friend after you walked down the aisle, it is probably marital property that is subject to property division during your divorce. Still, because you cannot divide the animal into two parts, your cat has to end up with someone.
Your cat may require a custody and visitation agreement
While judges routinely give cats to one spouse or the other, custody and visitation agreements are increasingly common. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can come up with a reasonable arrangement, a judge is likely both to respect it and to include it in your final divorce decree.
You may be able to keep the cat
On the other hand, if you want to secure exclusive ownership of your cat, it may be helpful to gather evidence that proves you are the animal’s primary or preferred caregiver. Veterinary receipts, adoption records, registration certificates, statements from family members and friends and other relevant documentation may convince a judge to award the cat to you.
Ultimately, by thinking about your kitty’s future early in your divorce planning process, you give yourself ample time to take advantage of your legal options.