Although many pet owners see their pets as members of their family, this is not a view that is shared under family law in Australia.
Divorces involving pets are becoming more and more common in Australia (and overseas). Given the integral part some pets can play in their owners’ lives, decisions about who becomes the ‘primary carer’ can often lead to tension and disputes in family law matters.
Unfortunately in Australia, pets are generally treated as property (in a similar way to furniture or clothes). Certainly pets don’t have the same rights or entitlements under family law that a child would have – the court doesn’t recognise ‘custody’ when it comes to pets.
Given this, many people are negotiating their own ‘parenting plan’ for their pets, which then becomes an informal agreement that is honoured between the two ‘parents’.
If you have any questions about what might happen to your pet in your separation, please contact Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.