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Pet Custody Agreements

Jan 23 2024

The law in BC recently changed to give Courts tools to better recognize pets as members of the family rather than property. Navigating the world of pet custody can be emotionally charged, however our furry (or feathery or scaly) friends may require careful consideration after a separation or divorce. We are happy to offer our expertise in drafting Pet Custody Agreements to provide security for their future care. 

Information We Need

To start the process of drafting your Pet Custody Agreement, we require certain key details to tailor the contract to your unique situation including:

  1. Pet Details: provide a thorough description of each pet involved, including their names, breeds, ages and any specific medical or dietary requirements.
  2. Current Care Arrangements: outline the existing arrangements for the care, feeding, and living conditions of the pets. Include any details about the history of the primary caregiver or other special arrangements.
  3. Visitation Schedules: if applicable, specify the desired visitation schedule for each party involved. This could include weekends, holidays, when someone is on vacation and any other special arrangements.
  4. Financial Responsibilities: clearly define the financial responsibilities associated with the care of the pets, covering veterinary expenses, grooming, food and other related costs.
  5. Emergency Protocols: address emergency situations by outlining procedures for veterinary care, decision-making authority, and how unforeseen circumstances will be handled.
  6. Dispute Resolution Process: establish a mechanism for resolving potential disputes concerning pets.

Timeline

The more of the above topics that you have reached an agreement on with your former partner, the more streamlined the process will be. Typically, we can prepare Pet Custody Agreements within 4 weeks.

Cost

For uncontested Pet Custody Agreements (i.e. you come to us with the details predominantly worked out), we charge a flat fee of $1200 plus tax. If there is prolonged or detailed negotiation, this is charged at our hourly rates on top of the flat fee.

INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE

It is generally a good idea to get advice from a lawyer that acts independently for you before entering into a contract to ensure you understand your rights and obligations. This is typically referred to as Independent Legal Advice or ILA.

For agreements drafted by a lawyer, we charged a fee of $500 plus tax.

For agreements drafted self-prepared by one of the parties, we charge a fee of $750 plus tax.

These fees do not include costs for negotiating changes to the agreement which we are pleased to offer at hourly rates. We also do not guarantee that the lawyer will witness the agreement with you or sign the Certificate of Independent Legal Advice that may be attached. It is our professional obligation to decline where we are concerned that the agreement is substantially unfair or you may be getting pressured in to signing. We will at all times act in your best interest.

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Independent Legal Advice – Separation or Cohabitation Agreements

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What About the Dog? Divorce and Companion Animals

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