Pets are part of the family. You feed, walk, talk to, sometimes clothe, spend time with and engage with pets like children and family members.
They are an important consideration in any Family Law matter, as they (and you) can be left distressed by the separation of their company.
They may be your only source of family when you separate with your partner.
There are a few ways that your pet can be considered in a court matter and the first is generally negotiation with your former partner.
Australian Family Law does not provide for animals as ‘children’ but generally as property to be considered in a Property Settlement or Financial Agreement. Factors that the court may consider:
- With whom the pet has an emotional bond;
- Who pays the expenses for the pet;
- To whom the pet is registered.
This is not an extensive list of what the court will consider, nor are they categories strictly defined so you need to be clear with what you provide to the Court.
We have made many Consent Orders with provisions for who retains custody of your pet, and how much time is spent with each “parent.”We guide you to consider a Parenting Agreement that is contingent on you agreeing with your former partner or spouse to childcare arrangements.
If you cannot agree you will be required to undertake Mediation and apply to the Court for Consent Orders.
Often the process is an emotional and stressful one, and we have assisted hundreds of families to overcome their concerns and explain the elements that the court takes into account when looking at the best outcome for your family.