When you get divorced, who gets to keep the dog (or any other pet, for that matter)? This is one of the many decisions that must be made following the breakdown of your relationship. Given that pets often become an important part of our lives, this can be a difficult – and sometimes contentious – decision to make.
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Pets and divorce
In England and Wales, the law considers pets in the same way it considers real property. This includes things such as vehicles, furniture and other possessions. During divorce, the court can decide how your real property should be divided, if you cannot agree between yourselves. With regard to pets, the court can order who gets ‘custody’, and whether the other person should contribute financially towards the pet’s upkeep.
Ideally, however, you should try to negotiate an agreement between you. Where there are children in the relationship, it may be preferable to keep the pet in the family home. This prevents further distress for the children. The other person could be given visitation rights, and could even share the cost of maintenance. Alternatively, you could decide to share ownership jointly. We have family divorce lawyers in London
Pet disputes in court
If you cannot reach an agreement, then you can ask the court to decide for you. Pets often become an integral part of our lives, providing comfort and unconditional love. Some people also view their pets as children or members of the family. Because of this, you may be reluctant to give up your pet, especially in the wake of a relationship breakdown.
If so, you can take the matter to court. The judge will consider various factors when making a decision, such as who has previously spent more time caring for the animal, and who will be able to meet its needs going forward. There are different possible outcomes. For instance, the judge may rule that –
- Custody of the pet should be shared
- Ownership and pedigree should be transferred to one person
- Costs should be shared to cover maintenance and upkeep
Family divorce lawyer London
When you divorce, there are so many things to organise – including who gets to keep the pet dog. Where possible, you should negotiate these matters with your ex-spouse, rather than taking the issue straight to court.
At Ashmans Solicitors, we are here to help you navigate your divorce. When you instruct a family divorce lawyer from our team, you can be confident of our skill and expertise as negotiators. We can help you settle the division of your property, including your pets.
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Want to speak to a family divorce lawyer? You can call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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