The coronavirus pandemic has seen a boom in the number of couples welcoming new pets into their homes. According to the Pet Food Manufactures Association, an estimated 3.2 million UK households have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic. However, in instances where a relationship breaks down and a couple separates or divorces, who keeps the dog?
This issue has garnered media attention in recent years and gained momentum as a result of ‘celebrities’ arguing over arrangements for the family pet, post separation and divorce: Ant MacPartlin (of the famous TV duo Ant and Dec) and his former wife reportedly arrived at a ‘shared custody’ agreement over their chocolate Labrador Hurley.
However, it is not only celebrities who may find themselves faced with this issue. In 2014, the Blue Cross suggested that 1 in 4 divorces involved disputes about pets. Whilst many practitioners would probably say in practice the number is much lower, with the increase in couples buying or adopting new pets it is possible that disputes regarding pets following separation and divorce may also be set to increase.
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