WE quite often receive requests for information in our law firm regarding divorce and pets. In this context, we need to take into account the recent law 17/2021 on the legal regime of animals. This law essentially modifies the legal status of animals: they cease to be considered as things. From now on, they are considered as sentient beings.
Obligations, rights and expenses regarding animals
The new article 333-bis of the Spanish Civil Code has particular significance, because:
On one hand, it regulates the animal’s owner, possessor’s or keeper’s duty of care. He must ensure their welfare according to the characteristics of the species. On the other hand, it anticipates the possibility to repeat or claim the wounded or abandoned animal’s treatment and other care-related costs; even if these are higher than the animal’s value.
Summarising, it highlights that in case of the pet’s death or injury the owner and those who live with him will be entitled to compensation, including mental suffering caused.
The pets at the divorce, separation proceedings, etc. Amendments to the Spanish civil code
The above law has substantially amended the Spanish Civil Code regarding family and pets law procedures.
Regulatory agreement in case of separation, divorce, etc.
Article 90 has been amended, so now the measures regarding pets must be included in the agreements. Therefore, there should be agreement on the following:
“The custody of pets, if they exist, taking into account the family members’ interests and the animal welfare, the distribution of cohabitation and care times, if necessary, as well as the expenses associated with the care of the animal.”
Article 91 of the Spanish Civil Code has also been amended, Now, the sentences in family law proceedings shall also decide on child custody, family dwelling, the marriage debts, the liquidation of the matrimonial property regime, etc, but also necessarily on the future of pets.
Physical custody. And pets visiting rights.
A new article has been introduced: the 94-bis. This article claims that the judge (similarly to children’s guardianship) will decide which person takes care of the pet and the non-custodian spouse can request visitation rights, weekends, etc depending on the situation.
Amending of the Spanish Civil Procedure Law (LEC)
As mentioned above, articles 771 & 774 of the LEC, which regulate the divorce and separation legal proceedings, etc, have been amended. As mentioned earlier, these articles rule that court decisions should include provisions regarding cohabitation and pet’s needs.
In case of any doubt concerning divorce and pets or if you find yourself involved in this situation now or in a near future, please contact us and we will offer you the best legal advice.
The information provided in this article is not intended as legal advice, but simply conveys information related to legal issues.
Carlos Baos (Lawyer)
White & Baos.
Tel: +34 966 426 185
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