Why Family Lawyers Often Have To Advise Their Divorce Clients On Pet Custody

Why Family Lawyers Often Have To Advise Their Divorce Clients On Pet Custody

For most family lawyers the areas upon which they would normally need to advise a client who is going through a divorce include arrangements for their children and property settlements so that there is a fair and equitable share. These are likely to occur in just about every divorce case they undertake, especially those where the divorcing couple has children.

What is not so common, but which can create the need for as much time and effort as any of the normal elements a divorce is what happens to any family pets that the couple has. Now, in many cases, the couple is able to agree on everything relating to their divorce including who retains ‘custody’ of their pet. They may even include a clause that allows the pet to spend time at each of their homes.

However, when an agreement cannot be reached, that is often when a family lawyer from www.culshawmiller.com.au may need to work a little bit harder. That is not to suggest they do not work hard when pets are not involved, but the attachment that a couple has to their pet, and the realisation that they are going to lose that pet to their ex-partner or spouse can often make a person throw all reason out of the window.

In cases like this, it will often see a family lawyer’s client demand that they pull out the stops and use every legal trick or tactic they can to ensure that their beloved pet gets to remain with them. Unfortunately, and as any family lawyer will tell you, it is not always easy, especially when the other party to the divorce are equally determined to hold onto their pet.

You might think that kind of scenario is more likely to occur when it is the cute, furry, and cuddly pets such as dogs and cats that are involved in the dispute. However, it can be the case that a couple will almost go to war over a goldfish, a budgerigar or even a lizard. Any pet owner will tell you that their love for their pet knows no bounds, thus the determination to fight to keep their pet, even it is not one they might cuddle.

The problem for family lawyers, and more specifically pet owners who are divorcing and who wish to keep their pet as exclusively theirs, the law relating to divorce is not just vague, it is almost non-existent. When the Family Law Act was created in 1975, lawmakers at the time failed to include any stipulations with respect to family pets. This leaves us with a situation that divorcing couples, and their family lawyers, cannot simply refer to a law to determine what happens with pets.

To be fair, the vast majority of couples do come to a divorce agreement and that includes arrangements for their pet or pets. Sadly, it can also lead to some situations where neither wants the pet and it ends up needing to have new owners found. Thankfully, this is rare and the pet either remains with one of the divorcees, or time with the pet is shared between them.

Where agreement cannot be reached, the Family Court will reluctantly make the decision as to what happens with the pet. If the couple has children, it is usually regarded as more beneficial that the pet remains in the home where the children will live. The court will also consider the living arrangements with respect to the properties where each of them will live, their finances, and working arrangements to ensure that the welfare of the pet is maintained.

It should be noted that despite the title of this article including the word ‘custody’, the Family Court does not grant legal custody of a pet to one of its owners as pets are not regarded in the same way as children. Instead, they are dealt with as property and thus it is ownership of the pet that is granted.