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Who Gets the Dog in a Divorce: A Guide to Australian Pet Custody Laws

Who Gets the Dog in a Divorce: A Guide to Australian Pet Custody Laws

Who Gets the Dog in a Divorce: A Guide to Australian Pet Custody Laws

In Australia, pets are considered property and as such, there is no definitive answer as to who gets the dog in a divorce. In most cases, the courts will order that the pet be handed over to one of the spouses, but there have been some instances where both parties have been allowed to keep the pet. This can be a difficult decision for the court to make, as it often pits human emotions against property rights. In this blog post, we will take a look at Australian pet custody laws and discuss some of the factors that the court may consider when making its decision.

The best-case scenario is to come to an agreement

Pet custody can be one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce or separation. For many couples, their pets are like family members, and the thought of giving them up can be devastating. However, fighting over who gets to keep the dog or cat is often a pointless exercise that can only lead to bitterness and resentment. A better solution is to try to negotiate an out of court agreement. This can be done with the help of a mediator or a lawyer, who can facilitate communication between the two sides and help them reach a compromise where required. With some flexibility and creativity, it is often possible to find an arrangement that works for both parties. And in the end, that is what is best for the pet.

Mediation / Negotiation

One way to do this is to ask a mediator to help you and your ex come to an agreement. Mediators are neutral third parties who can facilitate discussion and help you reach a compromise.

The other way is to engage a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf to get the outcome you are wanting regarding the pet.

Worst Case Scenario

If you and your ex are still unable to agree, you may need to go to court. In court, a judge will make a decision based on what they believe is in the best interest of the pet.


No matter what the situation may be, it is important to remember that the well-being of the pet should always come first. If you and your ex can come to an agreement about who will care for the pet, that is ideal. However, if mediation or negotiation is necessary to reach a decision, make sure that the mediator or your lawyer understands how much the pet means to both of you and that their well-being is taken into account.

No matter where you are in the divorce process, Strategic Lawyers Townsville is here to help you find a lawyer who will work hard on your behalf. We have the most experienced, professional team of family lawyers in our area and we’re ready to help you get the best outcome for you and your pets! Give us a call or contact us online today