Shared custody of dogs: What happens if I separate from my partner?

Written by: Luis Ignacio Gonzalez Andue



Time to read 2 min

In the process of a separation between couples, one of the least discussed but equally important aspects is the well-being of the common pets.

With recent legislation, joint custody of pets has become a topic of legal and emotional interest.

Today, we're going to explore what this means for our beloved pets and ourselves.

What is joint custody of a pet?

Since January 5, 2022, Law 17/2021 of December 15, 2021 has modified the Civil Code, introducing significant changes to the way pets are considered within the legal scope.

This law recognizes pets not as objects, but as sentient beings, which represents progress in the protection of their rights. Joint custody of pets, whether dogs, cats or other animals, now requires considering their well-being as a primary factor in any agreement.

This law establishes a framework for requesting shared custody, focusing on the well-being of the animal and maintaining, to the extent possible, its usual routine and care.

Decisions about who the pet will stay with, how care times will be allocated, and how associated expenses will be managed are now issues that must be resolved with the animal's well-being in mind.

Shared Custody of Dogs

Joint custody of your dog without being married

Joint custody of dogs and cats, especially between unmarried couples, poses unique challenges.

This section explores how to resolve this situation, putting your pet's well-being first and ensuring that decisions made reflect their best interests, regardless of personal circumstances.

Who gets the pet?

Determining who will keep the pet in cases of non-marital separation is complex.

It is advisable to consider who can provide the best environment, who has been the primary caretaker, and how the change of home will affect the animal.

The law seeks to ensure that the decision primarily benefits the well-being of the pet, beyond the personal preferences of the owners.

How much do you pay for joint custody?

The expenses associated with joint custody of pets must be considered and agreed upon by both parties.

This includes food, from dog food to veterinary care, and any other expenses related to their well-being. Transparency and mutual agreement are key to avoiding future conflicts.

Woman taking care of dog

How can shared custody affect the animal?

Joint custody can be stressful for pets, especially if it involves constant changes to their environment.

It is vital to observe any changes in your behavior, appetite, or activity that may indicate stress or anxiety.

Maintaining a consistent routine and providing plenty of love and attention can help minimize the emotional impact on our pets.

Legal prevention

For unmarried couples, it is advisable to establish clear legal agreements regarding pet custody before conflicts arise.

Marriage agreements or notarial agreements are useful tools for this.

Although recent legal reforms primarily benefit married couples, these provisions can help protect the rights of pets and their owners in any type of relationship.

Final conclusion

Shared custody of pets is an issue that, although complex, underlines the importance of animal welfare in our society.

It's a reminder that our pets are much more than animals; They are family members who deserve consideration and care.

As we move forward, it is crucial that we continue to promote laws and practices that recognize and protect the rights of our pets, ensuring their well-being even in times of change.

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