For many Mississippi households, a dog, cat or other pet is considered a valued member of the family. Pets are beloved additions to many families, and a divorce will bring up the complicated question of what will happen to the pet once this process is final. Determining custody of the pet can be complicated as it is both an emotionally challenging process and legally complex issue to resolve.
Pet custody and division of marital property
As pets are becoming a more prominent issue in many divorces, some states have passed laws requiring that judges choose a custody arrangement for the pet based on what will be in the best interests of the animal. However, a couple has the right to negotiate custody of the pet on their own. While one spouse may keep the pet, it is possible that a couple will decide to share custody.
Even with more states changing how courts treat pets in divorce, it is still not always easy to fight for custody of an animal. In most cases, a negotiated agreement may be most effective. However, a spouse has the right to fight for his or her desired outcome in court, and that may include pursuing sole ownership of a pet.
People or property?
Each Mississippi divorce case is different and unique. What will happen to the pet will depend on whether a couple can negotiate an out-of-court agreement or the opinion of the court. A spouse seeking a specific outcome will benefit from working with an experienced attorney at every step of the divorce process.