British Columbia Enacts Groundbreaking Family Law Changes for Pet Custody in Separation

Effective January 15, 2024, British Columbia introduced amendments to the Family Law Act, outlining factors for determining companion animal custody post-separation. The legislation requires consideration of factors such as each person's ability and willingness to care for the pet, the relationship between the child and the animal, and the risk of family violence or threat of cruelty.The reforms encourage spouses to make agreements, but the court can intervene if needed. Originally introduced as part of Bill 17, the Family Law Amendment Act, 2023, in early 2023, the amendments aim to provide clarity and prioritize animal well-being in custody decisions, acknowledging the importance of pets within families.