Best interests analysis for kids, not pets

From this week’s article on Advocate Daily, by our own Timothy Sullivan:

When it comes to seeking “custody” of a family pet, Ontario courts have followed a somewhat consistent approach in viewing animals as mere property — not children — although judges are still sometimes asked to treat children and pets equally, Ottawa family lawyer Timothy N. Sullivan writes in Lawyers Weekly.

“Strictly speaking, the family dog and cat are property, and subject to the regular provisions of Part I of the Ontario Family Law Act. Telling your pet-loving client this, however, rarely goes over well,” writes Sullivan, principal at SullivanLaw in Ottawa.

To read more, check out the whole story on AdvocateDaily.

Pets and divorce law in Canada


When fighting over furry friends, consider what it’s (really) worth

Fighting over pets in a marital split

Pets are an increasingly hot topic in family law.  Here’s what our own Timothy Sullivan had to say about it in this week’s Advocate Daily:

Four-legged family members are often the subject of debate during separation proceedings, but — despite how much it may feel like it — pets are not considered children under Ontario law, says Ottawa family lawyer Timothy N. Sullivan.

“Pets are certainly a hot topic in separations, but they are really an issue of property and not one of custody,” he tells

Sullivan points to a recent headline-making case that dealt with how to split the time of a couple’s beagle mixed breed dog which they adopted together when it was three months old.

The separating couple did not have children but spent years in mediation trying to strike a time-sharing agreement for the dog, named Pupineya, reports the Globe and Mail.

In the end, they decided Pupineya would split time between the two, even though they now live on opposite coasts — one in Virginia, the other in British Columbia.

Visit Advocate Daily to read the whole article.