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In a divorce who keeps the dog?

Who keeps the dog when separating?

Posted on 20 June 2022

What about the dog?

Pets are property – they are not children, well according to law anyway! 

Most of the time, parties will be able to work out what the arrangements for the pets will be, though not always! If you and your ex-partner are not able to work out suitable arrangements for the pets, the courts can make the decision for you – but it won’t be a simple process, and it won’t be a shared custody arrangement! 


As I said above, pets are property – they are not treated the same as children. If you ask the court to order who the pet will live with, they will make an order though it will be with one of the parties – not both, just as if they were making an order regarding any other property which parties may have (think car, furniture etc).  


So, what factors does the court consider when looking at who your pet will live with: 

  1. a. Did one of the parties have the pet before the relationship started? 
  1. b. Did one of the parties buy the pet, or as a gift for the other? 
  1. c. Who is the pet registered to? 
  1. d. Who has been looking after the pet? 
  1. e. Who has been paying for the animals’ expenses? 
  1. f. Are there any children who the pet should be staying with, and stay where they live? 


The above is just a brief overview of some of the factors which will be taken into consideration. If you need help working out your property settlement (including who is keeping the animals) get in contact for a free initial phone consultation with one of our family law experts.  


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