Many people consider their pets to be part of the family. So when Alberta couples get divorced, there could be some nastiness about who gets to keep Fido or Fluffy when it comes time to discuss division of property. In the eyes of the law in Alberta, pets are considered to be property, but for many couples, they’re also furry children. The Family Law Act entitles both spouses to equal rights when it pertains to family property, hence to their pets.
Many couples have sorted out the pet dilemma by choosing to have joint ownership of their pets — whether they be dogs, cats or reptiles. Pets are likely loved by both individuals and it is in everyone’s best interests to come to an amicable solution and not let the court decide. There are times, however, when litigation may be necessary.
Judges have been known to rule that one person gets to keep the pets, while the other gets visitation rights. Some people have even asked an estranged partner to pay support for a pet. In one instance in Canada, a woman asked her former husband for $755 to help support their 10 cats and five dogs. She was ultimately awarded $5,000 a month in spousal support, but it wasn’t certain how much of that was meant for the pets.
When there are contentious issues surrounding the division of property, a British Columbia resident may find some answers to legal questions by consulting with an experienced lawyer. A lawyer can help a client sort out the issues and come to an agreement on things that are important to him or her, like pets. When couples can’t decide on who gets what, each person may find it necessary to get independent legal advice.