Dog Custody – who gets the dog?

You’re separating or are in the process of separating from a partner and the awful decision arises – you both want to keep your beloved pet, tensions are high, arguments follow and you can’t resolve the situation.

Dog ownership disputes are becoming increasingly common.

In the UK a dog is regarded as an item of property in law otherwise known as “chattel” in the same way they do as cars, houses or other personal items, so in the event of a dispute, a court can be asked to make a declaration on who is the owner of the dog and who should have possession. Deciding who has the best claim to a dog can be difficult and the court will consider evidence such as:

  • Who bought the dog
  • Who is registered on the microchip database
  • Whose name is recorded at the vet’s practice
  • Who is registered on the insurance certificate
  • Who usually takes care of the dog
  • Who pays the day to day expenses for the dog

Pets in Prenuptial Agreements

The easiest way to avoid any difficulty or contention is to pre-empt the problem. It is possible to enter into a co-habitation agreement (if you do not intend to marry) or a pre-nuptial agreement (if you are to marry). This agreement can set out any arrangements for care of the family pet, including who they belong to and who they will live with should the relationship come to an end.

Contact us

To find out more and speak to us regarding the custody of your dog, do contact us on 01792 468684 or email




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