Divorce - Who gets custody of your pet?

When a couple decide to get a divorce, the decision about who gets the dog or cat can often be a bone of contention resulting in upset and protracted expensive lengthy correspondence. If a couple cannot reach an agreement, the Court will ultimately decide. 

Before divorce clients often consider they have the “right” to a relationship with their cat or dog, but the “rights” are related to who purchased, paid for it and who pays the insurance.  Regrettably, the vast majority of clients do not have this information to hand.  The Divorce Courts, would much prefer for a couple to reach an agreement between themselves with regard to their much loved pet  however, if that is impossible, couples should be warned that the law and the family Courts treat pets as “chattels placing them in the same category as furniture. Generally, the Court will look into what is in the best interests of the pet, and if necessary, will get in an expert to say who is in the best position to look after it.

Caroline Gregg is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in the family team of Terry Jones Solicitors, Shrewsbury Office. Caroline specialises in the financial aspects of relationship breakdown, particularly high value and complex financial work and pensions. To contact Caroline, please call 01743 285 888 or email caroline.gregg@terry-jones.co.uk.

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