If we divorce, who gets the dog?
It’s a common enough question for family Solicitors – who gets to keep the family pet and who pays for the vet bills if you and your partner go your separate ways. Well in reality the Court will say that a pet is just like any other chattel and will treat it as such. It is not unheard of for Solicitors to have a dog contact agreement drawn up or a “pet pre-nup” although how much a judge would consider that is another matter!
But looking at other more standard assets what do Solicitors look at and how do we get to a point where there is a fair division of what is available?
The simple answer is that there is no simple answer!
The law in this country when couples divorce is determined by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which sets out what considerations we should have when dividing assets and income. We can look at the length of the marriage, the ages of you and your ex, the contributions you make and a variety of other factors. There is a common belief that matrimonial assets are simply divided 50:50 when a couple divorce. It’s easy to see why when the objective of the family court is to achieve an outcome which is ‘fair’ to both parties.
There are a lot of times that we get questions we get about pre-marriage assets and inheritance. This is often the case when one party is the higher earner or has brought more money into a marriage.
First and foremost, the court will always look to meet the needs of each party. If these needs can be met from the assets and there is then a surplus, the court may go on to consider dividing the remaining assets taking into account where they came from.
As always, each person’s financial situation and requirements are different and so it is always advisable to see a specialist family lawyer to talk about your and your family’s own individual situation to get a better sense of what you may or may not be able to do about financial matters.
We can also look at pensions that you and your ex have. These can be shared between the parties to achieve a fair settlement or you can offset those against other assets. Expert advice should always be sought from Solicitors and pension financial specialists about pension schemes which are often valuable and the division of those can be complicated and require expert assistance.
At Kidd Rapinet we can offer you a wealth of experience in assessing your financial situation and giving you options as to how to resolve the financial situation. We can even talk about who gets the dog (or the goldfish) if you want to.
For an informal discussion or an assessment of your financial requirements and advice on where to go from here, please contact Sarah Watts at Kidd Rapinet.