Custody of pets: Who gets the pets in cases of separation or divorce?

Is divorce a difficult experience for everyone? Of course it is! However, do you know who are the most affected by separations and divorces? Aside from the children, our animals are one of the most harmed members of the family in this situation, as to who gets custody of the pets.

One of the issues that is rarely treated with the importance it deserves is that of pet custody. However, there are laws in this regard; as proof of this, we have the reform of the
Civil Code
In this reform, it is stated that if a couple separates and they do not reach an agreement, there are now legal measures to solve the problem.

In this article we explore the different scenarios that occur with a pet in the separation process, covering legal agreements and how to avoid court proceedings.

Pet custody: What does the Civil Code say?

The Mortgage Law and the Civil Procedure Law establish the following on the legal regime of animals: “Animals cease to have the legal nature of things or goods, and are now considered as beings endowed with sentience”.

In this sense, a change in thinking has been achieved by providing pets with the protection they need in case of separation or divorce. Since they are no longer considered part of an inventory, the final custody decision will be made with their welfare as the goal.

Scenarios in which joint custody in a separation will not be granted

It is undisputed that the emotional bonds that are established with pets transcend the legal framework. For this reason, the party interested in the custody of the pets must present reliable evidence of the existence of this affectionate bond. If the other party disagrees, it may offer its arguments and evidence, and the judge will decide.

Whether the judge decides to grant custody to one of the parties, or to leave the care of the animal in the hands of both, he must establish a visitation regime and the obligations of each party with respect to maintenance and care.

Domestic violence serves as a terrible example of everything that can go wrong in a relationship. Thus, joint custody will not be granted in cases of separation, if these criteria are demonstrated:

  • Evidence of animal abuse.
  • That the parties involved could have bad intentions regarding the pet.
  • When the divorce papers were reviewed, they revealed a spirit of revenge or even worse, a case of blackmail.

Tips to facilitate shared pet custody in case of a breakup

If possible, it is wise to avoid legal proceedings. Trying a case can be both financially and emotionally draining and can often drag on interminably. A preferable option might be to bring in a mediator whom both parties trust.

The regulatory agreement
is a document that contains and attempts to cover the results of a separation or divorce. It should be elaborated jointly by both spouses. So, within the legal framework, if there is ever a separation, then the “owner” will keep the pet.

The affective relationship prevails over pet ownership and is covered by the animal welfare bill, with the aim of protecting animal rights. Regardless of who is the owner or “owner” of the pet, shared custody is intended to avoid suffering.

Still have doubts? Do you need advice to determine the custody of your pet in your breakup or divorce? Contact our group of expert lawyers in family law and request an in-person visit at our offices in Valencia.

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