Szabo & Associates News & Updates
Who Is to Have Custody of The Family Pet After Separation?
Pets can be important to families, and disputes over the family pet in separations appear to be becoming more common. However, in Australia, the Courts have only limited capacity to deal with pets with no legislation for guidance though legal precedent has been established with several cases.
Australian Courts treat pets as personal property, though as a general rule a value is not placed on a pet when considering a property division in family law. And unlike Alaska, which introduced a law in 2017 that requires courts to take into account the animal’s well-being, the Court is not concerned with the “best interests” of the pet.
Deliberating on who will have future ownership of the family pet(s) the Family Court will consider factors such as who bought the pet, who took the key responsibility for taking care of the pet during the relationship and after separation, who has suitable accommodation, and who has paid for the pet’s care.
If there are children, who have a particularly strong attachment to a pet and they are to live with one parent most of the time, then it may be that the pet stays with that spouse. In some cases, the Court has ordered that the family pet travel with a child between households.
It remains to be seen how the law might develop to take pets into account in event of a relationship breakdown, given the emotional attachment that individuals can have to their pets.
Contact Our Family Law Solicitors, Sydney, NSW
Szabo & Associates, Solicitors can assist you whatever your family law matter. If you are going through a separation or contemplating a Divorce please call us on (02) 9158 6026 or fill in our online contact form. We can help you understand your options and the costs involved.