Pets, soon to be considered family members in the event of a divorce

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Pets, soon to be considered family members in the event of a divorce

In divorce cases, the issue of custody of the pet is painful. (File photo)

British Columbia Attorney General Niki Sharma introduced amendments to the provincial family law act.

< p class="e-p">The amendments will change the guidance given to judges on what to consider when deciding who gets custody of a pet in the event of a divorce.

In particular, they will have to give importance to the capacity and the will of each person to take care of a pet, the relationship that a child has with the animal and the risk of violence. family or threat of cruelty.

This is a change from the way animals were traditionally considered in divorce proceedings in Canada, where they were explicitly treated like any other type of property.

We know pets in the province are much-loved members of the family, said Niki Sharma.

Animal rights lawyer Victoria Shroff found an increase in the number of cases involving emotional support pets during the pandemic.

“This is a innovative text that takes into account the fact that animals are members of the family and not just a piece of furniture. »

— Victoria Shroff, Lawyer

“It's time we looked into this and we considered an animal as someone, as a sentient being, as a member of our family,” says lawyer Victoria Shroff.

While the battles over the custody of animals have multiplied in recent years, judges have had very little guidance on how to handle these debates which can be very emotional, according to the lawyer.

As a result , judges and courts have taken different approaches in various cases that have attracted media attention.

It's kind of a gray area, said Ms. Shroff.

With information from Justin Mc Elroy

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