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Romance in Britain – it’s a dog’s life

Posted on Wednesday, 27th February 2013 by

Photo Credit: Brian Hathcock via Compfight cc


One of the most contentious aspects of separation – particularly of divorce, where many of your possessions are jointly owned in the eyes of the law – is the division of assets.

You might find it fairly easy to divide up your CD and DVD collection (he takes Die Hard 4.0, she keeps Failure to Launch…) but when it comes to living things, it’s not so easy.

Custody of children is a whole area of family law in itself – but a new report from Confused.com shows that custody of pets is rapidly becoming a major issue too.

This makes good sense, as many people will need some companionship if they are living alone for the first time in a long time, and much-loved family pets are often able to provide that element of support.

But similarly to child custody, emotions run high in pet custody cases too, and that means things can get messy.

Living in the Dog’s House

Who does your partner love more – you or the dog?

According to Confused.com, the answer in 8% of cases is that people love their pet more than their partner, and an even higher proportion (10%) would dump a new partner if they could not get along with their pet.

If you’re not an animal-lover, even finding a partner in the first place could prove difficult, as 30% of people would not even consider dating you.

But you could be saving yourself a lot of hassle further down the road, as 7% of Confused.com’s survey respondents said they would go to court to gain custody of their pet from a former partner.

Scale that up to the total number of adult couples in the UK, and it’s a potential two million people who would call on a judge to keep their furry friend in their life.

Kate Rose, head of pet insurance at Confused.com, says: “Preferring to spend time cuddled up with the dog or cat over a partner reveals that ‘man’s best friend’ is the primary object of many people’s affections.”

Don’t Get Catty

In any emotionally charged legal situation, it’s important to keep things in perspective.

First of all, it’s worth noting that the East Midlands as a whole has relatively low numbers of people who love their pet more than their partner (3%) and who would go to court to claim custody (3%).

In fact, the total rate of pet ownership, 53%, is lower than everywhere else apart from London (53%) and the south-east (52%).

But if you’re in the minority of Leicestershire residents whose relationship leads to a pet custody battle, we are here to help.

We can help you to understand the practical elements of the custody process – and the parts where emotion is simply a complication, rather than something that will help you to win your case.

Ultimately, the court will make what the judge believes to be the best decision for the welfare of both the pet, and the people involved.

Once this is done, you will have to abide by it, so being reasonable earlier on might mean the difference between being granted visitation rights, and waving goodbye to your much-loved four-legged friend forever.

If you are having difficulty deciding where your pet should live following the end of a relationship, speak to us now and we will help you to move forwards, without any further unnecessary delays and complications.

Talk to our legal team

The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.

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