Friday 15 March 2024

Spanish court orders dog support payments by husband to wife on divorce

European country's laws (except UK) regard animals as sentient beings. In those countries where animals are treated as sentient beings under the law you have to make provision for the caretaking of a companion in a court order when you divorce if you can't agree. 

Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Portugal among other European countries recognise animals under their laws as sentient beings. In the UK, companion animals such as dogs and cats are regarded as inanimate objects under the law which is a throwback to many years ago when they were regarded as "chattels" to use an old-fashioned word. It means objects, dead objects, owned by the divorcing couple.

Yes, in the UK dogs and cats are divided up like the television and furniture and if they can't agree then the court makes an order.

But in this story, from Spain, a court in Pontevedra ruled that the father i.e. the husband or former husband must pay €75 a month per child and €40 for the dog per month which represented "half of the extraordinary expenses [and] veterinary bills."

So you can see that in Spain, on divorce, if there is a dog or cat - a member of the family - and if the parties can't agree, a court will make an order for the dog or cat's caregiving in exactly the same way that the court would make an order for the children. It's great and it's a very good example of the power of regarding animals as sentient beings. It dramatically improves animal rights.

In this instance, the dog went to live with the wife which is why the husband has to make this payment to the wife to look after the family dog. It appears that they couldn't decide who the dog should live with so the court also made an order that the dog lives with the wife.

The order was made under the reform of the Animal Welfare Act in 2021. This law facilitates shared custody which hopefully can be arrived at by agreement but if not, as mentioned, the court steps in, makes an order and the order is enforced through subsequent court proceedings if required.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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