This may seem like a trivial question for some, however, it is a question that often has to be asked when people are separating.Most couples are able to come to an agreement about where their dog, cat, or goldfish will go, but sometimes there is a disagreement about where a pet will live, and how much time they should spend with the other “parent” or with the kids.
Traditionally in Family Law, pets are seen as personal property, and so are included in discussions about the rest of the parties’ assets. Lots of separating couples have applied to the Courts to try to get “custody” of their pets. However, too often people are dissuaded by the cost of doing this, especially when the outcome is uncertain.
If you are separating or considering separating and your pet is an important member of your family, we think you should try to resolve these issues in a Collaborative Law process. This process is interest-based as opposed to rights-based, and will provide a forum in which you can negotiate with your ex about what should happen to your pet. Because you decide on the outcome, the lawyers can be creative about the agreements you reach and how they are documented, perhaps you could agree on a week-on, week-off arrangement for your furry friend, as well as sharing vet bills. The sky is the limit.