Going through the property division process can be a very difficult thing when you and your ex are divorcing. The emotional ties that you have to some items, such as the marital home, could be considerable. As hard as it is to divide items that aren’t living, it might be even harder for you to have to decide who is going to get the family pet.
Typically, humans have a great emotional tie to the pets they care for. Many humans care for these animals like they are children. Having to decide who is going to get them might be slightly less difficult than child custody. In a way, it might be a bit more difficult because you usually won’t have a pet custody schedule.
In Canada, pets are typically viewed as property. Under the criminal law code, pets are said to have owners. That is where the basis for the division of pets as property comes from.
Now, whether pets are considered marital property or separate property can vary. In some cases, such as when a pet was brought into the marriage by one spouse, the court might find that the pet is separate property so that spouse would be allowed to keep the dog. In other cases, it is considered marital property so a decision about ownership would have to be made.
No matter what is included in your property division case, you should make sure you know your rights. This gives you the basis to decide how you will handle specific matters during the property division negotiations if you are working with your ex to figure out who gets what.
Source: FindLaw Canada, “Who gets custody of the family pet when a couple separates or divorces?,” Miriam Yosowich, accessed Oct. 28, 2016