The first things that generally spring to mind as needing to be addressed when a relationship ends are the division of property and, when there are children, the custody arrangement. In some situations custody matters may not be limited to children. For couples who decide to split, who will have custody of a pet could be an issue. This is true regardless of whether a couple is married or lived together as common-law spouses.
In families of all types throughout British Columbia and elsewhere, pets play an important role. In many situations they are considered a member of the family. This makes it difficult for any member of the family to imagine living without the animal in their life. Accordingly, determining who a pet will live with, and when, can be very emotional. While this could be the case in any separation situation, it may be more likely when a couple did not have children together but instead directed that energy toward loving and nurturing their pet.
Just how the issue of pet custody will be resolved will vary from couple to couple. Logistically, as is the case where children are concerned, custody is usually only part of the issue. There is a financial component as well. Matters such as who will pay for vet bills, dog walkers, doggie daycare or any necessary special food need to be addressed. When a couple ends up living far away from each other but still shares custody of the pet, the expenses related to transporting a pet from one place to another also need to be determined in the course of the split.
While not everyone whose relationship is ending will face this issue, as is the case with other matters related to the split of a couple, when it does arise, a family law lawyer can be of assistance.