Whether Murray is a pet dog, cat or magpie, he can be the centre of much angst.
There’s no doubt pets can form close attachments to their owners and are often seen as part of the family. Although many separating couples are able to come to an agreement regarding where the pet will live, sometimes unfortunately this is not the case. Pets can be used as weapons to hurt the former partner with access restricted and sometimes even threats made to put an animal down.
Although disputes regarding animals are becoming more common the Court continues to have limited capacity to deal with the issues that arise. Pets are considered personal property, like cars or televisions. The Court will consider when the pet was acquired, by whom and who needs the pet. The Court would not, however, look kindly upon proceedings issued solely in relation to pet care arrangements.
Pets may also be included in Binding Financial Agreements which are agreements entered into by parties to a marriage or de facto relationship to determine how property is to be divided upon separation. Agreement in relation to where the pet will live, when the pet will spend time with the other party and who will pay the pet food and vet bills can be included.