What Happens to the Cat After a Divorce?

In the UK alone, there are an estimated 12 million cats saved as pets in 2022. It’s no shock why felines are such a favoured pet for a lot of. They present many advantages to their human companions, similar to calming nervousness and despair in addition to combating loneliness.

Pets are sometimes step one for {couples} in a relationship earlier than deciding they’re able to have youngsters, or even perhaps as an alternative of a kid solely. Cats are comparatively low upkeep in comparison with different in style pet selections, making them a great selection for {couples} in search of an additional addition to their household unit.

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But with thousands and thousands of households having fun with the companionship of those furry pals, many cats find yourself in the course of a divorce settlement. In these situations, when each companions have an equal love for the animal, who will get to maintain the cat after a divorce?

The legality of a cat

Despite whether or not the cat is considered as a ‘fur-baby’, the legislation doesn’t view them on this method.

With divorce instances involving youngsters, the courtroom will make choices with the kid’s greatest curiosity in thoughts, considering a large number of things like their age in addition to any psychological or bodily wants. For a cat, (or any sort of pet), that is sadly not the case.

In the eyes of the legislation, a cat is considered as an object; somebody’s property, so when each events categorical equal need for possession of their beloved pet, the courtroom has a wide range of components to think about when delegating authorized possession. Cats conform to many of the common property legal guidelines in relation to splitting matrimonial property, that means they’re handled in an identical technique to a shared automobile, or a bit of furnishings.

Can you compromise?

If each events have an equal want to take care of the household cat after a divorce, there is a chance for compromise. Similarly to sharing custody of a kid, the choice may be made to share part-time possession of the fluffy pal.

So, who will get the cat in an acrimonious break up?

In divorce instances involving pets, the courts will most frequently take a look at how the animal entered the connection as a way to decide possession.

For instance, if one companion owned the cat previous to the wedding, the courtroom is more likely to grant them sole possession. Comparably, if one companion purchased the cat as a present for the opposite, the recipient of the reward could also be given possession.

Families with youngsters might even see a special end result. Understandably, youngsters typically acquire a robust emotional reference to the household pet, and when coping with their mum or dad’s divorce, the courtroom could deem it’s within the baby’s greatest curiosity to have the cat reside with them, for each familiarity and emotional assist.

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For instances involving a number of cats, the courtroom could rule for all the pets to stay collectively, however that is solely circumstantial.

Other influencing components

A pre-nuptial settlement (pre-nup) may be an influential issue when figuring out possession of a cat. Prior to marriage, a pre-nup may be signed stating who retains sure belongings within the occasion of divorce. If the possession of the cat is about out inside the pre-nup, this could closely sway the choice. It’s vital to notice that pre-nups within the UK are solely legally binding when sure standards are met, however can nonetheless be a robust issue within the decision-making course of.

In some instances, the courtroom could enable each events to specific their emotions, needs, desires and considerations concerning their feline pal. However, emotion and familiarity are usually not grounds for possession, so different components can have a bigger influence on the ultimate resolution.

John Roberts is a Partner and Director of Austin Lafferty. John has been with the agency for nearly 20 years, with expertise in all areas of household legislation, together with divorce and separation, adoption and speak to.

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