For many Australians, a household pet is one of the most important members of the family. Our ‘furbabies’ are often the first addition to the family for most young couples before they have children, so in the event of separation, the issue of Who Gets the Pet can cause a great deal of stress and tension for everyone involved.
Did you know that court orders made in accordance with the Family Law Act 1975 can actually include provisions for pets – big yey! But here’s the fine print: in Australia there is no specific reference to pets in the Family Law Act 1975. So, while courts have limited authority to deal with the ownership and living arrangements of pets, they can be included in the category of property and dealt with in a legally binding agreement between the parties. What a fabulous idea!! It is always best to try reach an agreement on the living arrangements of pets following a separation, however in the event that an agreement cannot be reached, an application can be made to court for property orders which includes the pet.