An Article From Our Solicitor, Jayne Howarth – Family Law Solicitor
For me, there is nothing better than opening the front door after a day of work to hear my cheeky Lorikeet calling out “Hello Sonny” and for my dog to run around in circles with excitement to see me arrive back home. They are an important part of my family. But what happens to our ‘feather’ and ‘fur’ babies after separation?
The Family Law Act does not provide any special treatment for our pets and are not dealt with in the same way as children. Instead, our pets are treated as personal items of property. Often parties can reach agreement concerning the care of our pets after separation. We have seen parties make shared arrangements for their pets, so that both parties each have the opportunity to spend time with their pets. On occasions, one party relocates to a residence where pets are not permitted, which results in the other party retaining ownership of the pets.
But what happens where parties are in dispute about who should retain the family pets? The Court consider a number of different factors to determine who is the legal owner of the family pets, such as:
- Who paid for the animal?
- Who the animal is registered to?
- Who looks after the needs and welfare of the animal such as funding treatment, buying food, making decisions about veterinary treatment, exercise?
- Whether the animal is used for breeding and generates income for the parties?
We understand that pets play an important role in your family. Our family pets are at times an excellent support for children when parents are separating, being a source of calmness and comfort for a child and parents alike. We understand the stress separation places on families but at times the thought of what will happen to our ‘feather’ and ‘fur’ babies after separation can be daunting! After all, they are a constant source of support, great listeners and never talk back. ?
This article was published on 25/05/23 and the information is valid only to the date of publishing. This article should be considered merely general and non-specific on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal, advice. Meehans Solicitors is not responsible in the event this information is relied upon by the reader in the absence of specific legal advice.