New legislation in Canada will improve the standards by which family pets are treated in divorce cases.  British Columbia family courts will no longer treat family pets as simple “property” in determining which party will take custody of the family pet.

Under the law changes, in upcoming divorce cases, the Courts in British Columbia will consider each spouse’s ability and willingness to care for the family pet. the relationship a child has with the pet and if there are any risks of violence or threats of cruelty to an animal.

Nevertheless, British Columbia authorities still recommend that spouses or co-habituating couples make their agreements concerning the custody of pets, rather than disputing the matter in court.

Premier David Eby said in a statement, “Going through separation or divorce is already difficult for couples and childrenour justice system should be there to help, not make it harder,”  “These changes include putting the health, safety, and wellbeing of kids at the center of every decision and using the actual experiences of families in the system to improve it.

We agree with the recognition of family pets as both sentient beings, rather than mere property, and the recognition that pets, though not human, are family members and decisions concerning who retains custody of a family pet should be treated carefully.

Thailand law has made great strides in protecting animal rights in recent years,  In 2014, Thailand enacted the Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animal Act, B.E. 2557 (2014.)   In 2019, Thailand enacted the new Wild Animal Protection and Conservation Act. However, Thailand’s animal rights protection laws do not provide special rights to pet owners to determine custody.  Pets would normally be would be viewed as either separate or community property of the marriage.  However, spouses can specify how pets would be treated, and which spouse would have custody of those pets, by using a well-drafted Thailand prenuptial agreement.  Nevertheless, even with a properly signed and executed prenuptial agreement, if one spouse was found responsible for abuse or cruelty to the family pet, it is possible, then it may be possible for a spouse to request the Thai court to cancel the agreement based on the Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animal Act.


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