July 12, 2024

fight over pets
After Separation: Who gets to keep the shared dog after divorce?

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When two people part, the question often arises: “Who protects what?” When it comes to shared pets, there is one thing that matters most in court.

After a separation, when couples argue over who their dog will live with in the future, animal welfare becomes the overriding criterion. This is clear from the decision of the Marburg District Court (ref: 74 F 809/23 WH) and pointed out by the Family Law Working Group of the German Bar Association (DAV).

What is primarily relevant is which of the two ex-partners is the dog’s primary caregiver. Next comes the question of who can best care for the animal, and finally who can provide a more species-appropriate environment.

In this particular case, the woman took the male dog with her when she separated without informing the man. But he wanted to keep the dog with him, so he went to court. Successfully, the Marburg District Court required the woman to immediately hand over the dog to her husband, including the vaccination certificate, food bowl, dog bed and stuffed animal.

The garden plays an important role for dogs

It is clear that both ex-partners had a good and close bond with the animal, so it is impossible to definitively determine who was the primary caretaker of the animal.

However, the deciding factor in the district court’s ruling was that the dog only had the opportunity to spend time outside in the garden at the man’s home. Indeed, the free and unrestricted use of a dog-safe fenced yard means significantly improving the quality of life for the animal in question.

Additionally, the woman’s family dog ​​must be home alone for six hours, five days a week, while the man mostly works from home. The former is probably not a problem for the dog, but the man seems to be able to be with him more or less 24 hours a day, with the exception of a few absences.

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