In Tennessee, pets are considered personal property, just like furniture or a car, and are subject to division in a divorce settlement. Therefore, the division of pets during a divorce is governed by property division laws.
Generally speaking – you would keep any property that you had before the marriage including a pet(s).
If the divorcing couple cannot agree on who gets the pet, the court will determine ownership based on who can prove ownership of the pet. Factors that may be considered include who paid for the pet, whose name is on the adoption papers, who takes care of the pet, and who has the strongest emotional attachment to the pet.
Alternatively, the court may order the parties to share ownership of the pet, either by dividing time with the pet equally or by giving one party primary custody and visitation rights to the other party.
It is important to note that Tennessee law allows for pet trusts, which can be established to provide for the care and maintenance of a pet in the event of the owner’s death or incapacity. This may be a useful option for couples who are concerned about the care of their pets after a divorce.
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