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What Occurs to the Cat After a Divorce?


Within the UK alone, there are an estimated 12 million cats saved as pets in 2022. It’s no shock why felines are such a favoured pet for a lot of. They supply many advantages to their human companions, reminiscent of calming nervousness and melancholy in addition to combating loneliness.

Pets are sometimes step one for {couples} in a relationship earlier than deciding they’re able to have kids, or maybe even as an alternative of a kid fully. Cats are comparatively low upkeep in comparison with different in style pet selections, making them a super selection for {couples} on the lookout for an additional addition to their household unit.


However with thousands and thousands of households having fun with the companionship of those furry mates, many cats find yourself in the course of a divorce settlement. In these situations, when each companions have an equal love for the animal, who will get to maintain the cat after a divorce?

The legality of a cat

Regardless of whether or not the cat is seen as a ‘fur-baby’, the legislation doesn’t view them on this method.

With divorce instances involving kids, the courtroom will make choices with the kid’s finest curiosity in thoughts, taking into consideration a large number of things like their age in addition to any psychological or bodily wants. For a cat, (or any kind of pet), that is sadly not the case.

Within the eyes of the legislation, a cat is seen as an object; somebody’s property, so when each events categorical equal need for possession of their beloved pet, the courtroom has quite a lot of elements to contemplate when delegating authorized possession. Cats conform to many of the common property legal guidelines on the subject of splitting matrimonial property, which means they’re handled in an analogous method to a shared automobile, or a bit of furnishings.

Are you able to compromise?

If each events have an equal need to take care of the household cat after a divorce, there is a chance for compromise. Equally to sharing custody of a kid, the choice could be made to share part-time possession of the fluffy pal.

So, who will get the cat in an acrimonious cut up?

In divorce instances involving pets, the courts will most frequently take a look at how the animal entered the connection with the intention to decide possession.

For instance, if one associate owned the cat previous to the wedding, the courtroom is more likely to grant them sole possession. Comparably, if one associate purchased the cat as a present for the opposite, the recipient of the present could also be given possession.

Households with kids may even see a special consequence. Understandably, kids usually achieve a robust emotional reference to the household pet, and when coping with their mum or dad’s divorce, the courtroom could deem it’s within the youngster’s finest curiosity to have the cat reside with them, for each familiarity and emotional help.


For instances involving a number of cats, the courtroom could rule for the entire pets to stay collectively, however that is fully circumstantial.

Different influencing elements

A pre-nuptial settlement (pre-nup) could be an influential issue when figuring out possession of a cat. Previous to marriage, a pre-nup could be signed stating who retains sure property within the occasion of divorce. If the possession of the cat is ready out throughout the pre-nup, this could closely sway the choice. It’s vital to notice that pre-nups within the UK are solely legally binding when sure standards are met, however can nonetheless be a robust issue within the decision-making course of.

In some instances, the courtroom could enable each events to precise their emotions, needs, needs and issues relating to their feline pal. Nevertheless, emotion and familiarity are usually not grounds for possession, so different elements may have a bigger affect on the ultimate determination.

John Roberts is a Associate and Director of Austin Lafferty. John has been with the agency for nearly 20 years, with expertise in all areas of household legislation, together with divorce and separation, adoption and call.


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