No time to paws in pet custody battles


Devoted animal lovers will go to great lengths to make sure their beloved pets are happy, healthy and safe. But now it seems they are even willing to take their spouse to court in the battle for residence of their furry friends.

That is the finding of a recent survey which revealed that 20% of separating couples have in fact gone down the legal route to keep residence of their pet. 10% even tried to resolve the dispute over their canine companions by using mediation.

Pet Custody Battles

"If you are not an animal lover this might sound silly but it is quite common for people to develop a very strong emotional attachment to their pets,” said Emma Pearmaine who heads up the Family & Matrimonial team at Simpson Millar LLP. "When going through a divorce which is a very difficult time for most couples, a pet can be a real source of comfort. Some people treat them like children and, as this research shows, will fight tooth and nail to keep them."

According to this study, the legal battle was fought over who gets to keep the pet in 56% of cases. Sadly in 10% of cases the dispute arose because none of the parties wanted to take responsibility for the animal.

"Unlike children it can be tricky to agree joint residence over a pet which often thrives best in familiar surroundings. And of course, not unlike with children, the best interests and welfare of the pet should perhaps be the deciding factor in who gets it."

The survey of 2,000 pet owners was carried out by the Co-operative Pet Insurance.

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