Before or after getting married, many couples choose to get a pet. Some feel it’s a great way to share responsibility and have companionship. Other times, one partner enters the relationship and already owns a pet, bringing in an additional person for the pet to love.
If partners choose to divorce later, they understand that many assets will be divided. While it may be easier to divide furniture or vehicles, one question may arise — who gets the family pet? And if one ex owns the pet, can the other have visitation rights?
Personal Property in Arkansas
Pets are still considered personal property in Arkansas. Personal property is exactly like it sounds — someone’s personal possession that is rightfully theirs. Marital property, on the other hand, is property that was acquired during a marriage.
Typically during the divorce process, property is identified as personal or marital. Many states do recognize pets as marital property. However, because pets are considered personal property in Arkansas, a person cannot get authorized "pet visitation." This can be difficult for couples who have grown attached to their pets and do not want to give them up.
If exes feel comfortable with one another and want to leave a visitation option open, they can do so on their own terms. However, those terms will not be enforceable by law, and both parties must recognize that. Therefore, it’s typically in the best interest of both parties to have a court-approved placement for the pet.
If exes cannot agree on who will keep the pet, the court may decide for them based on who owned the pet first or who has been caring for the pet.
Divorcing and Have a Pet?
If you are divorcing and have a pet, discussing your options with an experienced family law attorney is essential. The team at Martin Attorneys, PA can help you understand your rights and options under Arkansas law and will fight for you and your furry friend. Contact our compassionate family law attorneys online or by phone to schedule a consultation. (479) 888-2039