How is the custody of a pet decided in the event of a divorce?

It’s over between you and your better half. Everyone goes their own way, collects their personal belongings and flies to new horizons. Well, not exactly. Divorce generally involves several decisions that can be contradictory: sharing common property, custody of children and, if there are any, pets. Who does the dog or cat stay with? What is the best option for him? Can we exercise joint authority? We tell you more about what the law provides for this.

In France, in 2015, animals were recognized by law as “living creatures endowed with sensitivity” in this direction at the end of 2021. However, the new Spanish legislation is more advanced than ours on one specific point: when a couple breaks up, the pet can be placed under joint custody. In all cases, if the divorce is controversial, the fate of the animal is decided by a judge who must consider: “the future of pets, taking into account the interests of the family members and the welfare of the animal, the distribution of guardianship and grooming time”, indicates this text. What about France, what does the law provide in this regard?

According to French law, animals are always subject to the: movable property regime“In the event of a couple’s separation, no text provides for a specific provision regarding the pet. Consequently, the pet is subject to the same rules as the other property of the couple, we can read on the Service-Public site. In reality, keeping a pet depends on the situation and certain criteria, such as the couple’s marriage system.

Breaking up PACS or living together

In general, for PACS or cohabiting couples, post-divorce custody of the pet should: decide amicably† If one of the partners has adopted or bought the animal before pairing, he or she will have custody of the animal. If the adoption or purchase is a common act, it is advisable to make a decision based on the welfare of the animal.

If neither partner will or can decide, it is possible to rely on a dog expert. This person is given the role of mediator or mediator and makes the final decision.

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The breakup of a marriage

Whether the animal was bought or adopted Premaritalit is considered a very clean : Owner retains custody. If the furry (or scaly) partner was adopted or purchased during the marriage, by only one member of the pairit is also considered a very clean and the same consequence applies. Keep in mind that an animal received as a gift during the marriage remains the property of the spouse to whom it was given.

However, if the pet was adopted or purchased by both partners during the marriage, it is considered a common interest† The grant of his guardianship then goes: depend on the marriage system chosen by the couple.

• Separation of Ownership

If the spouses have opted for a prenup of separation of property, it is whoever bought/adopted the animal after the divorce. It is also possible to take into account the person who put his name on the Domestic Carnivores Identification Card (ICAD).

• Absence of prenup

If there is no prenup, the married couple is: “subject to the regime of the community reduced to achievements. This means that they own half of the property from the moment of marriage.”, explains the Village Justice site. Both partners have the same rights over the animal and must then reach an amicable settlement. Otherwise, it is up to the family judge to decide during the divorce proceedings.

•Universal Community

The universal community matrimonial system means that all property belonging to the members of the couple is joined together, regardless of their date of acquisition. That includes the pet. Again, the two partners have to find an amicable solution in the case of divorce and if that fails, a judge of the family court will decide.

In making its decision, the judge takes into account various elements, such as the best interests of the couple’s children, the care each partner provides to the animal during the marriage, the financial situation of each spouse or the living conditions that the animal will face. to enjoy. after the divorce. In general, the parent who gets custody of the children also gets custody of the pet. Otherwise, owners who provide proof of their attachment or involvement with their pet have a higher chance of winning their case in the event of a divorce.

What about shared custody?

Amicably, pet owners can freely decide to opt for joint custody. In the case of a contentious divorce, certain judges also decide this issue in court, although it is rarely considered and joint custody is in principle reserved for children.

You should also know that it is possible to request a financial contribution from your ex-husband or ex-husband for the judge, in order to meet the needs of your animal.

In all cases, the welfare of the animal must be the guiding principle in the decision to grant guardianship. For example, a dog will be very attached to the person who walks him regularly, while a cat is used to a certain territory and environment. To prevent a flock separation from affecting your animal too much, make the right choice!

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