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Is your family dog on the property division list in Georgia?

The furry member of a family may be just as loved as the children in a home or considered the only child. Unfortunately, the law only views an animal as another piece of property. In Georgia, the beloved pet is put on the property division list with the silverware, furniture, car and home.

When asking for the family pet in a divorce, it is best to understand that sometimes it may be more about controlling the soon to be ex-spouse than actually having rights to the animal. Taking the ex-spouse to court numerous times because of veterinary bills and visitation schedules may be more about power and control and having the one thing that still loves unconditionally. The battle over the beloved pet can be emotionally exhausting and can result in an extremely large investment.

When a divorce is filed, judges may place the family pet with the children to keep both in a routine. If there are no children in the family, many factors will be used to decide which party will maintain ownership of the pet. Things such as who feeds the pet, who takes it to the veterinarian, who spends the most time with it and who brought the pet into the marriage can help a judge make an informed pet custody decision.

The property division list in any divorce may be long, but proper planning and the aid of a knowledgeable attorney can help ensure property is divided in a manner that is agreeable to both parties. In Georgia, many families consider their pets to be beloved, furry children as opposed to material items of the home. Though the Georgia court system still considers a family pet to be a piece of property, it is possible that a judge will make a decision based on the best interests of a pet.

Source: Huffington Post, Who Gets The Pets In A Divorce? What You Need To Consider When Fighting Over Fido, Maria Moya, Jan. 19, 2014

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