Here is a link to an article I wrote last year in relation to the treatment of pets in financial disputes following divorce. You may be surprised to learn that our beloved pets are treated in much the same way as the dining room table or the television: a chattel to be divided by agreement. Many of us, however, are far more attached to Fido and Tiddles than other household objects. In many cases couples view their animals as members of the family and, indeed they take on a child-like status. As such arrangements for family pets can be a 'deal-breaker' for many separating parties and they form a lynch-pin to many financial agreements.
We are a nation of animal-lovers. In today’s society our pets are increasingly regarded as one of the family. Unsurprisingly, against this back-drop, more and more pet owners are turning to solicitors to obtain ownership rights over their pet upon the breakdown of their relationship. A number of cases concerning pets are even being fought in the Court arena with an estimated 1/5th of all contested financial proceedings involving issues related to the ownership of a pet. The correct legal treatment of a pet in England and Wales is as personal property. In the eyes of the law the animal is a chattel, to be divided up in the same manner as the household furniture or jewellery. Pet-owners, however, see things very differently and pet ownership is a sensitive and often emotive subject, not unlike disputes over arrangements for children.