Q: I am separated. We have a family dog. Who gets the dog?
A: This is a very sensitive issue for sure. There are basically two approaches taken to determine the ownership of pets. The more traditional and narrow approach turns on who paid for the dog at the beginning. Who paid for day-to-day maintenance of the pet (e.g. vet bills, food, walking them) is not relevant. The broader, more contemporary, approach considers the relationship between the parties and the pet. In a recent case, the Judge deciding the issue used the more contemporary approach and considered the following factors: was the pet purchased by both parties during the marriage; did both parties contribute financially to the purchase and upkeep of the pet; how much time and energy did each contribute to the upkeep of the pet; and which of the parties was listed on important documentation relating to the pet. Hopefully, you can resolve such an issue without the courts. But if you cannot, then there is law to be your guide dog. We do a lot of family/divorce law, with offices in Georgetown, Brampton and Caledon East. In light of COVID-19, we are doing most everything virtually. So we are happy to have a Zoom meeting or a telephone call without charge to you to see if we can assist you. Have a great weekend.