LONDON, January 7, 2019
LONDON, January 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --
Equal parenting campaign group Fathers4Justice (F4J) has called for new 'pet custody' laws ahead of 'Divorce Day' on January 8th.
This follows the introduction of a new pet custody law in California on January 1st of this year. Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 2274 which authorises courts in divorce cases to assign sole or joint ownership of pets.
In the US, 88% of pet custody fights involve dogs, with cats accounting for just 5% of cases. In 81% of cases, pet custody is granted to women.
In the UK, there have been recent high-profile cases in which celebrities have fought pet custody battles with their ex-partners.
F4J, which campaigns for shared parenting, says an increasing amount of its casework includes disputes involving pets, mostly dogs, and has set up a new advisory service to cope with the enquiries.
F4J campaign director Nadine O'Connor, is calling for a principle of 'shared pet custody' or a 'joint ownership order' to be introduced in law alongside mandatory mediation.
Nadine, who owns six dogs - including an 11 stone Irish Wolfhound called "Guinness" (see pic below) - says pets are integral members of any family, and need to be treated as such, with joint or sole ownership decided by the court during family proceedings.
"Shared care of pets is as common in some US states as it is for children, and pets will often travel back and forth between homes with the kids."
"Pets are integral family members and can be an important source of continuity and stability for children. This is something the courts should take into account when making child welfare decisions."
"We believe that as with children, the default position of the courts should encourage shared custody."