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B.C. divorce mediation: Who gets the four-legged family member?

Most people think of their pets as part of the family. So, when a British Columbia couple is splitting up, divorce mediation may be necessary to sort out who gets Fido the pooch and/or Fluffy the kitty. But there may be one person favoured by the pet, and when a decision needs to be made regarding an animal, it may be in the animal's best interest to be with the one to whom it is closest.

If the couple has children, that may play a part in the decision. If one parent has sole custody, perhaps the pet should stay with the children since pets provide great comfort for them. It seems there is more of an issue with dogs rather than with cats. For the most part animals dislike change, particularly dogs and ones that are pretty sensitive. For homes without children, perhaps the dog can stay in one home and the other person could visit for dog walks.

When a couple can't iron out who gets the family pet(s), divorce mediation may be needed. Failing that, a family court judge will make the decision for the couple. There are many emotions wrapped up in the ownership of the pet and whether the pet is, in fact, considered property.

A British Columbia lawyer who is experienced in family law and divorce mediation might be able to help his or her client make a decision about the family dog and/or cat or whatever other pets may be in question. Sometimes a third party can point out things the couple might not have considered. A lawyer may also be able to help a client look at things less emotionally and more logically to come to a consensus.

Source: readersdigest.ca, "Who Gets the Dog in a Divorce", Phil Moscovitch, Accessed on Oct. 14, 2017

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