For many people pets are as much a part of their family as any other family member. This is why pet custody is a very important concern to many families during divorce. However, the way that the court views the issue of pet custody is very different from the way pet owners approach the issue.
The case law in this area dictates that Family Courts do not have the jurisdiction to address the issue of pets by way of custody or support.
Therefore, the Court does not entertain arguments regarding custody or access arrangements for pets, nor will the Courts entertain requests for the payment of expenses associated with a pet’s care in isolation, even though these can be quite significant. In addition, the Courts will not make orders for the sale of a pet so that the parties can share in the division of the sale proceeds as is often done with other assets owned by separating couples.
Instead, a pet is viewed as property and essentially, whoever purchased the “property” is viewed as the owner. This does not mean that other factors such as who cared for the “property” and who paid for the expenses will not be taken into account in determining who actually owns the “property”.
If you are looking to resolve a pet related issue on a more comprehensive basis, an experienced family law lawyer can assist. This means that if you and your partner are separating and you have one or more pets that are very important to you, this issue will have to be resolved outside of the court system. Many experienced family law lawyers have dealt with the issue of pets (custody and expenses) and can assist in crafting a resolution relating to this issue.
For more information on how to settle pet issues or any issues relating to divorce, speak with us at (416) 961-6111 x 31