Family Law Property Settlement Disputes frequently arise over who gets the pets when parties separate. Whilst people can feel and treat their pets as if they were family, the Family Court’s approach is that pets are treated as property of the parties. In those circumstances one can apply to the Family Court as part of a property settlement claim for orders that pets, like cars or white goods, should be allocated between the parties in a particular way.
In farming cases stock are treated as assets without any real difficulty, but it is hard for people to think of their precious dog or cat in the same way.
We have been involved in a number of cases where disputes over pets have occurred. Fortunately we have been able to negotiate outcomes for the clients, and their pets, without the need to have the matter come before a Judge for a determination.
Treating pets as if they were a stereo, or a refrigerator, doesn’t reflect the emotional attachment that people feel for their pets, but that is the approach, as a matter of law, that Family Court adopts.
That said, the Family Court has an overriding principle of Justice and Equity, and the Judges do their best to accommodate the needs and desires of the parties in relation to dividing up the property, including what is in the best interests of their pets. The ability of a party to accommodate, supervise, and care for the pet is obviously relevant to any decision.
Macpherson Family Law are specialists in Family Law property settlement disputes.
For more detailed advice as to property settlement click here.