This topic has always played a role in divorce proceedings and divorce agreements, but has only been specifically regulated since the last Animal Protection Act came into force. 

What is a pet in the above-mentioned law? 

In principle, this only includes cats, dogs and some rodents, but nothing prevents us from regulating the care of any animal living in the household in a divorce agreement or fighting for it in divorce proceedings.

How is it decided who gets the pet or how visits are organized? 

The pet register only allows for the registration of a single owner, which is usually not the reality, as pets are nowadays an integral part of the whole family. Therefore, judges need to look at the situation individually and see what relationships existed between the different family members and the animal, who took the most/best care of it or who can provide the best conditions for the animal after the divorce (house, garden, time…), etc. In addition, the custody arrangement for the minor children (if any) should be harmonized with that for the animal so that if there is a close bond with the animal, the children are not subjected to further unnecessary emotional stress as a result of separation. 

Finally, it is important to know that even in a divorce by mutual consent, where custody and visits by the animals are regulated in the separation agreement, the judge must always consider whether the arrangements made are harmful to humans or animals.