It’s happened many times before. It’s hard, it’s painful, but somehow things are going smoother than you expected. That is until somebody brings up that landmine of a question, “Who gets to keep the dog?”

With everything else that’s been going on,it hadn’t yet been given much thought, but now it’s happening and now it’s real.

Too often, this happens:

  • “I’ll keep the dog, that will teach them”
  • “I love that dog more than anything, without it I have nothing”
  • “They never wanted the dog in the first place and now they want to keep it?”
  • “How could they look after the dog, they’re never home!”

Believe it or not, who gets to keep the dog is often a more painful decision than deciding on custody. Why? Because there aren’t as many laws around to guide the process, and it’s much less likely that one partner will get the dog every second weekend.

This is an issue that can really throw a big ugly spanner in the works when dividing assets. When emotions run high, division of assets becomes way more complicated. It leads to the situation where deciding who owns a $20 kettle turns into another 4 weeks of legal fees, resulting in a $20.00 kettle costing thousands in avoidable legal fees. Often, nothing starts this unrelenting snowball effect more than deciding who gets to keep the dog.

To make things more difficult, there are not many laws in this area, making it a foggy area, and where there is fog, there is often chaos.

  • Here are some questions to be asked:
  • Who owns the dog?
  • Who is the dog registered to?
  • Who has cared most for the dog?
  • Who is the dog most bonded to?
  • Who has the best space for the dog?

This is a matter that we strongly recommend doing with a solicitor or a mediator. They will take the emotion out of the matter and help find the best outcome.

However, beware that some solicitors have been known to ‘stoke the fire’, provoking more ‘Don’t let him have that’ or ‘She doesn’t deserve that’ than necessary in order to get more legal fees.

We recommend getting to know the solicitor and getting a feel for them to see if you’re comfortable that they have your best interests at heart.

If you have any other questions, we’d be happy to help. Send us an email or give us a call.

This article is not advice. Always speak to a solicitor before making any decisions.