The law in England & Wales is clear. A pet is treated as an item of personal property, such as artwork/jewellery etc. If disputes arise it can simply come down to who purchased/maintained the pet. Financial provision may need to be made for income needs/a value may need to be ascribed if the pet is valuable - possibly taken into account when considering division of assets between the parties. No court will become embroiled in disputes over a pet....but could this be about to change? Earlier this year a court in Alaska ruled that the welfare of a family dog would be a crucial consideration when determining which party should get to keep it. Judges there have now been given the power to order joint 'custody' of pets as would be the position with any children of the marriage.