Pet custody, dog and cat custody during divorce
The biggest bone of contention in a quarter of all divorces is the family pet, according to a report. Picture: Pexels


Research among family lawyers and a poll of the public said that many couples caught up in divorce are likely to put custody of a pet above their concerns about property, or even the children.

Worries about the fate of dogs, cats, horses, birds or other pets mean that increasing numbers of couples on the brink of marriage are taking out “pet-nups” to make sure their husband or wife does not try to take their beloved away animal in the event of divorce, it found.

But, the report by Direct Line Pet Insurance said, some pet owners use their animal to take vengeance on a former spouse. A quarter would give their animal to a shelter or rescue centre, one in six would sell it, and a similar figure would consider having it put down. In law, an animal is property, and courts have powers to award a pet to the person who bought it, or order it to be sold.

The report, based on a survey of 2 000 people and more than 100 family lawyers, said in an average divorce case 25 hours of lawyers’ time involved the fate of a pet.

Prit Powar of Direct Line said: “Given how important pets are within a family it is not surprising so many people fight for custody. We urge owners to consider what is ultimately best for their pet’s wellbeing.”

Source: IOL (emphasis by SDLAW*)

*Cape Town Attorneys, Simon Dippenaar & Associates Inc. (SD Law) we are passionate about the law. Based in the heart of Cape Town, our family lawyers and divorce attorneys offer expert legal advice with complete client confidentiality. Our expertise encompasses family and divorce law, and a comprehensive range of legal services. Contact us on +27 86 099 5146 or email with any questions about divorce, or how to resolve the sharing of pets.

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