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Family Law

Family Law in Canberra – Who gets the pets?

By October 7, 2014No Comments

Legally, pets are considered property (or ‘chattels’) so they are not treated the same way that children are in custody disputes, but that doesn’t change the fact that for many of us, our pets are just as much our babies. As such, when it comes to divorce, the issue of how to figure out “custody” of the pet can be difficult. You can however figure out an informal ‘pet parenting plan’, in which you and your ex-spouse can agree things such as who will pay vet bills, how “changeovers” will work, whether one party has ‘first right of refusal’ to care for a pet when the ex-spouse goes on holidays, instead of placing a pet in a kennel for example, and any other factors pertinent to your pet’s care. If you cannot agree, the courts may make an order for division of this ‘property’ along with other property such as cars and bank accounts. Bear in mind that a court will most likely take a dim view of adults spending court time (and public money) arguing over pets. However, if it does go to the stage of putting forward evidence, think about any children first – is a pet an important part of the children’s family life and can you argue that it is in the children’s interests to have their pet go with them? Who is usually responsible for vet visits, and so on? This may be relevant when considering financial matters in a property case. The source and date of purchase of the pet, and title registration papers, may also be considered in determining the animal’s ‘true owner’.  If this interests you, read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caroline-choi/the-fight-for-your-pet-in-divorce_b_5871038.html?utm_hp_ref=divorce&ir=Divorce

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