Pets are considered an essential member of a family unit, with most pet-parents treating them as akin to a child. The bond shared by pet parents and their pets is an emotional one. This bond should not be compromised during a separation or divorce.
While dealing with the division of property like furniture and other household belongings is a relatively known and accounted for issue by the justice system, we lack a strong piece of legislation that prescribes how to deal with the issue of “pet custody” and who gets to the keep the pet following the separation or divorce. Thus, the solution to this issue is more complex since there are no specific laws prescribing how a pet should be raised or which partner can provide a home environment that is most conducive to caring for the pet.
Our current court system proclaims a pet to be something that its “owner possesses.” Thus, handling the issue of pet custody is similar to the division of personal property. Since pets are considered to be property, they are governed by The Family Act. When handling the issue of property division during a separation or divorce, the most common way of splitting up the possessions is to divide them equally between the two partners. However, we cannot do the same for a pet.
If the pet was brought into the family before marriage, the partner who got it will be able to argue that fact in their favor, claiming that the pet is not matrimonial property. If the pet was brought into the family following marriage, we need to consider questions like “Who bought the pet,” “Who took greater care of the pet during the marriage,” and “Who incurred the pet expenses?” Additionally, when determining who gets to keep the pet, we may also have to consider the financial stability and ability of each partner to care for and raise the pet.
While there is no easy way to deal with pets amid a separation or divorce, such matters are best settled out of court through mediation, arbitration, and a genuine discussion between each partner. Such a dialogue can help the partners reach common ground and negotiate an agreement that is mutually agreeable and beneficial for all parties involved.
We at Juzkiw Law are highly experienced in dealing with such cases of family law. Our team of experienced family lawyers shares the empathy to understand the emotional bond you and your pet share. We would hate to see you undergo any emotional stress, should you part with your beloved pet during a divorce. We might be able to steer the situation in your favor by negotiating possible solutions with your spouse to help you keep your pet. We aim to help you and your partner reach a mutually agreeable conclusion regarding pet custody to avoid any negative feelings. Thus, for more information or targeted advice for your situation, please book a free consultation at 416-221-2221 or visit our website