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How Are Pets Handled In A Divorce In Ottawa

The property division during a divorce process is an emotional roller coaster. The things that you might be very attached to may go to your ex-spouse. One division that often causes great heartbreaks is the division of the family pets. According to the law, pets are not family members but possessions and will not be treated like a child. 

It is understandable that the family dog or cat is a beloved member. However, Canadian law has regarded them as mere property and ignored the emotional bonds between family members and pets. Things become difficult because both spouses may feel an equal amount of love and affection for the pet. If you are in a divorce and want pet custody after divorce in Ottawa, get an attorney today. 

Pets and division of property 

When your properties get divided in a divorce, so does your pet ownership. Basically, the one who gets ownership gets to keep the pet with themselves. 

If one party already owned the pet before they got into a relationship with their spouse, they will most likely get the pet. However, if the parties get the pet together, it may become a difficult battle. 

The courts in Ottawa do not typically make orders about pet custody. However, they have provided some guidance about how to approach such situations. 

The court decided to take a more holistic approach. The following factors should be considered when making a decision: 

  • If there were any agreements between the parties regarding the ownership of the pet. 
  • The party who bought the pet or owned it first.
  • The party exercises care and control over the pet.
  • The primary caregiver of the pet. 
  • The party who covers the pet’s expenses.
  • What happened to the pet after the couple separated.
  • Evidence suggesting ownership of the pet by one party.

Can a pet be jointly owned by both spouses?

Yes. It is possible for a separating couple to jointly own a pet after their divorce if the pet had been acquired during the course of the marriage. In such a situation, both spouses are considered rightful owners, regardless of their marital status. 

Courts nowadays are adopting a more modern approach. Here, the parties can agree on a visitation schedule so that both parties can enjoy spending time with the pet. This is similar to child custody battles. The court makes sure that the agreement is made in the best interests of the pet. 


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