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Who gets Fido? Pets and the Family Law Act 1975

 Whilst the issue of pets is often hotly debated in family law disputes it is a common misconception that the Family Law Act 1975 (“The Act”) can be applied to disputes regarding pets.

Section 60 CC

The Act does not consider custody arrangements of a pet whilst the applicability of section 60CC factors may, at first glance, seem to be relevant.

Section 79

Case law has considered the use of Section 79 principles and specifically questioned whether pets can be deemed property under the Act. The short answer to this is also no as the Court has ruled that it does not have jurisdiction to make such Orders as pets are not deemed to be property.

Solution

The most preferable course is for you and your ex-spouse to write up an agreement for the care of the pet so each party has a clear framework to be guided by.

Written by Pearsons Family Law.