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Pets and Divorce: Who Keeps the Dog?

A divorce or any kind of separation can be challenging to say the least. From disputes over household tech to the family car, things can become a little complicated. But what if you have a pet?

08-02-2022

woman thinking on sofa with dog

If you’re looking to gain custody of your four-legged friend, we’ve got the advice to get you a step forward in your case. Take a look below to find out what you need to consider and why it’s important to hire a family lawyer when it comes to pets and divorce.

According to UK law, animals are treated in a very similar way as possessions. Their welfare is not the same as it would be for a child and the law unfortunately doesn’t reflect the status that a lot of pets have in family life. Pets are often considered a treasured member of the family, no matter if it’s a dog or a rabbit, and their long-term wellbeing should always be a priority when it comes to their future.

 

So, who keeps the pet?

Choosing who gains custody of your animals can cause bitter battles between couples who may have gone their separate ways. When people fall out of love with each other, the love for their animals continues no matter what. The thought of leaving a pet, who feels like a member of the family behind, can be difficult to come to terms with. This is why most people will go above and beyond to keep their pets by their side after the separation.

Most importantly, you need to consider who would be able to give your pet the best quality of life. Some animals don’t adjust well to change and are good at sensing stressful situations, which can have an effect on their health. Think about who will have the best space and time to care for your pet. Will your home or job interfere with their happiness?

 

Does the UK have an outdated approach?

When you look at the UK divorce law, you may find that in regards to pets, it’s somewhat outdated. Animals have significant rights as living beings, however it’s very difficult to change the divorce law that this country currently has.

There is a debate that if you did change this law, you would have to see which animals would benefit from these adjustments. Should the same rights that are awarded to a dog or cat, also be given to a goldfish?

It has been the case in the past where battles have gone on for so long that the animal passed away before a resolution could be found. Often this is down to the difficulties navigating the UK law without help of experts.

 

Handling with care

Any disputes regarding pets should be handled with care and sensitivity. The custody of the pet is often seen as the source of emotional distress and can be of bigger concern than the ownership of any other possession.

The emotional investment that pet owners make is not something that should be taken lightly. People will often rely on their pet for emotional support in a tough time and consider them their best friend. This is why separation can take a toll on not only the couple, but on pets too.

If you want a good outcome, then it is vital that you hire a family lawyer who can have a look at your case in detail. Based in Devon, Beyond Legal has a team of divorce solicitors with not only specialist knowledge but with the addition of care and support.

 

Contact us today for a free consultation to get the results you want.

When people fall out of love with each other, the love for their animals continues no matter what. The thought of leaving a pet, who feels like a member of the family behind, can be difficult to come to terms with.