Who Gets The Pet In A Tennessee Divorce?
In many families, pets are seen as members of the family, which is why determining who gets the dog or cat in a divorce can be a brutally difficult decision for some couples. If you are determined to get the pet in your divorce, you need a knowledgeable Tennessee divorce attorney by your side to fight for your furry loved one. At Fort, Holloway, & Rogers we understand how much pets can mean to their owners and will zealously advocate on your behalf during your divorce. To learn more, call or contact our office today.
Evolving Pet Ownership Law
In some states like Illinois, California, and Alaska new laws have been passed regarding the determination of pet ownership in a divorce. In these states, pets are recognized as more than just personal property and that they have feelings and emotions attached to their owners. As such, if spouses cannot agree on ownership the court may award joint custody or work out another arrangement that benefits both the humans and pet involved in the case.
Tennessee Pet Ownership Law
Unfortunately, Tennessee has yet to adopt this type of law that recognizes pets as more than personal property. As such, in a divorce a pet is treated no differently than a piece of furniture or other property that must be distributed during the divorce. If one spouse acquired the pet prior to the marriage, it is considered separate property and will return to that spouse once the divorce is finalized.
However, if the pet was acquired during the course of the marriage it is considered marital property and could be distributed to either spouse in the divorce. In this situation, if a spouse can show that they were the primary caretaker of the pet during the marriage the court may award them the pet in the divorce. Collection and presentation of evidence is critical to prove which spouse provided more care to the animal during the marriage. Proof of names on the adoption or purchase papers, receipts of purchasing food and toys, records of who took the pet to vet visits, records of who took the pet on daily walks or exercised them, and more can all be compelling evidence to show to the court that a spouse deserves to keep the pet in the divorce.
It is important to note that a pet can also be subject to the terms of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in Tennessee. Because a pet is considered personal property it can be subject to property distribution clauses in these documents. This is another way to protect your connection to a pet if you are determined to keep them in case the marriage ends in divorce.
Call or Contact Our Office Now
Do you have concerns about who will get the pet in your divorce? If so, contact the Franklin divorce attorneys today at Fort, Holloway, & Rogers to schedule a confidential consultation of your case and learn more about your legal options from one of our experienced divorce attorneys now.