People who don’t have pets may not fully appreciate the importance of a family dog or cat. These furry companions are important members of the family, and a divorce can affect them just as much as anyone else. Of course, losing access to your pet can be devastating, especially if you rely on this feline or canine for emotional support. You may feel like you’re ready to do anything in order to keep possession of your pet, even if your spouse is intent on keeping the pooch all for themselves.
So what do you do in this situation? If neither spouse is willing to back down, it can lead to a legitimate legal battle. In order to give yourself the best possible chance of success, it makes sense to work with a qualified, experienced divorce attorney in Mississippi. These legal professionals appreciate the importance of your family pet, and they will help you keep hold of this valuable family member.
Pets are Considered Property
The first thing you need to know about this situation is that a pet is considered a piece of property by courts in Mississippi. Many people mistakenly assume that some kind of custody battle will ensue if divorcing pet owners can’t agree on who gets the pet, but this isn’t the case. It might seem a little inhumane, but a pet is considered in exactly the same way as a car or even a piece of furniture.
How Property is Divided in Mississippi
Mississippi follows a system of equitable distribution when it comes to property division during divorces. First of all, you need to consider when the property was acquired. If you acquired your pet prior to the marriage, then your pet is considered “separate property.” This means that you will retain ownership. If the pet was acquired during the marriage, it is considered marital property. This means that it is subject to the rules of equitable distribution.
A judge may consider a number of factors when dividing property according to equitable distribution rules. In the case of a pet, these factors may include:
- Who spent more time with the pet
- Who experienced greater enjoyment in the pet’s company
- Who spent more money on food and medical expenses for the pet
- Who is better equipped to keep and care for the pet in the future
If you have children, they may also have an impact on the final decision. Judges may believe that it is in the child’s best interest to stay with their pets, especially if they rely on these pets for emotional support during the turmoil of their parent’s separation.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you’ve been searching the Mississippi area for a qualified, experienced family law attorney, look no further than Ballard Law, PLLC. We have plenty of experience with complex property division. This includes the division of sentimental property like a family pet. With our help, you can strive for a positive legal outcome in the most efficient way possible.
Ballard Law, PLLC
108 S President St.
Jackson, MS 39201