Who gets the dog on divorce?

Although the title to this article might raise a smile, the question of where, or rather with whom, pets will live is often a very important decision during a separation or divorce.

Pets are frequently considered to be part of the family with the responsibility, both financial and practical, playing a big factor in family life. So, what will happen to pets on divorce?

In legal terms, a pet is considered to be a personal belonging. A pet is not, of course, a child and would not therefore be subject to the same rules which govern arrangements for children on a divorce or separation. However, arrangements for the care of a pet, including suitable housing and the cost of care, will need to be made.

Every situation, like every family, will inevitably be different but it may be worth considering whether the care of a family pet can be shared between the parties following a separation or if both parties, and any children of the family, will continue to see the pet.

Some people might think about the use of what is a called a Pet-nup – think Pre-nups but with pets in mind. The animal charity, Blue Cross, has been involved in the preparation of a Pet-nup and this may focus the minds of owners at an early stage to agree upon arrangements for their pet in the event of a separation. In some circumstances, arrangements for pets may only in fact be borne in mind in the event of a divorce or separation.

This is clearly an area where the potential for much dispute and heartache could arise. It is therefore appropriate to consider obtaining legal advice in the event of a separation or divorce at the earliest opportunity. We offer an initial consultation at a fixed fee of £180, inclusive of VAT. Telephone or email us today (enquiries@gardnercroft.co.uk) to arrange an appointment.

Disclaimer
This literature is intended purely as an overview of this area of law and no action should be taken upon it without specific legal advice.