A couple were going through a separation and were in dispute over who would retain care of the family dog. The dog was in the husband’s care, so the wife made an application to the Family Court for an order for its shared care.

The Family Court decided that the welfare of the pet was the primary consideration and each situation must be considered based on its particular circumstances. Because the dog was trained to live outdoors and the wife lived in an urban area without stable accommodation, the dog remained with the husband.

What happens to a pet after a couple separates can be an emotional source of conflict in relationship property proceedings, particularly when both partners want to keep possession of the pet.

Pets are considered to be family chattels under relationship property law, which means they are subject to the rule of equal sharing. Often when such disputes arise, the primary consideration will be the welfare and best interests of the pet, even though they are classed as items of property.

If you are concerned about what may happen to your pets if you go through a separation, it pays to speak to an expert that is experienced in contracting out agreements or separation and relationship property agreements to ensure your pets are considered and their care arrangements determined when entering a new relationship or going through a separation.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.