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How Do Judges Determine Custody of Pets in a Divorce?

How do judges determine the custody of pets in a divorce? When a married couple decides to get a divorce in Pike County, or anywhere else in Alabama, there are numerous terms that must be decided. If those two parties have children, it is commonly known that child support and child custody must be determined. It is also known that the couple’s marital property, like their house and cars, must be distributed between them. However, people may forget about the couple’s other “child,” their pet. What happens to their pet once they divorce? The couple should try to agree on which of them should get the pet, and they should try to keep their pet’s best interest in mind rather than their own emotion. Custody of Pets in Divorce

If the parties cannot agree on who should get to keep the pet in a divorce, then they will have to present the issue to the Circuit Court judge. The Circuit Court judge will have full discretion to make the decision that they believe is best. In Alabama, pets are considered to be personal property, which means the judge will award the pet to one party in the most equitable and fair way possible. The judge will look at whether the pet was owned by one of the parties prior to entering the marriage or whether the couple got their pet during their marriage. If the pet was owned prior to the marriage, then your Prattville divorce lawyer may argue on your behalf that the judge should award the pet to the party that is its original owner. If the parties got the pet after getting married, then the judge will consider various factors before reaching a decision. 

These factors generally concern which spouse is more attached to the pet and which spouse cared for the pet on a day-to-day basis. The judge may even allow witnesses to testify as to these factors before reaching a decision. The judge may want to know who usually feeds, walks, and plays with the pet as well as who takes the pet to the vet. The judge may also look at the financial aspects of owning the pet. The judge may consider who primarily paid for the pet and its food, toys, treats, medicine, shots, etc., and the judge may also consider who is most likely going to be able to afford the pet after the uncontested divorce in Madison County, or wherever you live. If the parties have children, then the judge will likely award the pet to the party that has custody of the children.

It may be difficult for parties to agree on how their marital property should be divided between them when they are getting divorced. However, if they own any pets, it may be even harder for them to reach an agreement because many people love their pets as if they are their children. If you are wanting a divorce and are wondering what will happen with your pets, contact us today. We will get you in touch with one of our experienced divorce attorneys in Montgomery who will advise you on who they believe is most likely to be awarded the pets in your divorce.

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