Getting a Divorce, So Who Gets the Dog? By Karen Weiner | | The Law House

Getting a Divorce, So Who Gets the Dog? By Karen Weiner

By in All Blogs, Family Law Category on January 15th, 2014

The thing about dogs is that they need walking, company and attention.   This is not ideal if you work in an office 4 or 5 days a week and are out from 8am until 6pm.  For years therefore I promised my children that when I worked from home we could have a dog.

The thing about children is that they never forget a promise. So when recently I started to work from home I was speedily reminded of the promise that I had made. There has been much discussion in our household since then between the family and with friends many of whom have both children and dogs.

What type of dog shall we get? How much will it cost? Who will walk it? Will it get on with our cat? What shall we call it? Who will get the dog if we get divorced?

Hang on a minute! I don’t recall that question ever coming up when we decided to have children…yet pets like children are part of the family and if you separate or divorce you will have to decide who they should live with.

During the divorce process the law doesn’t treat family pets the same as it does children.  Pets are considered to be “chattels” like furniture or cars. There is no equivalent of the Children Act where the “best interest of the child” is considered paramount. However increasingly the courts are hearing more and more arguments over family pets.  As with finances and children arguments in court over pets can be very expensive.

So if you are in the process of getting a divorce what can you do to try and avoid such arguments? If you are getting married take legal advice on a pre marital or pre nuptial agreement or if you are setting up home with your partner a cohabitation agreement. These agreements can set out what is to happen to your assets, children and pets in the event the relationship breaks down. If you are divorcing or separating consider mediation in an attempt to avoid lengthy and costly court proceedings.

For advice on any of these issues and the process of getting a divorce please contact me on 01923 521003 or email