Tuesday, June 28

DOMESTIC ANIMALS | Animal abusers can lose custody of their children


On January 5, Spain took a great step forward in the defense of animal rights by entering into force the legal reform of the Civil Code, the Mortgage Law and the Civil Procedure Law by which the pets What dogs, gatos, birds and the rest of pets will be considered “Living beings endowed with sensitivity”. Domestic animals, which until now were considered things, will come to be considered as a more member of the family at the legal level. The new law 17/2021, of December 15, adapts the Civil Code to the true nature of animals and relationships of coexistence that are established between them and human beings.

In addition, this reform in advance the animal rights and the pets implies that people who have been convicted or have an open process for mistreatment of an animal will be able lose custody of your children in the event of separation or divorce, as explained by family lawyers.

“The attendance of mistreatment of animals and the vgender iolence and abuse and child sexual abuse, in the sense that the guardianship and custody of the children is limited if there was a history of animal abuse“, explained the president of the Spanish Association of Family Lawyers (Aeafa), Mariló Lozano.

Thus, it has specified that “there may not be a situation of violence against children or against a partner but animal abuse is a form of violence towards the family“. In this way, yesIf a person mistreats and kills their pet, this would be “a total impediment to having custody of their children or joint custody “in a separation or divorce case.

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This change is reflected in the reform on the legal regime of animals, which has entered into force this Wednesday, January 5, and for which animals are no longer considered “things” to be recognized as “sentient” living beings.

The reform affects the Civil Code so that the animal welfare It must be taken into account in the separation or divorce processes when specifying the regime of coexistence, custody, care of these, visitation regime and the judge will be in charge of deciding who to deliver the care of these based on their welfare.

From the Association of Family Lawyers they point out that this modification will not suppose “a greater burden” for them but they understand that it is a question of “a new perspective that must be addressed” because “companion animals are very loved ones” in the family.

“Being able to regulate what happens with animals is a constant concern in families with pets. Therefore, I believe that this is an advance that places us with the European legislation in our environment”, has valued the president of Aeafa.

Distribution of the custody of pets and domestic animals

In any case, it has specified that, prior to this law, it was already “customary” for the possession of companion animals to be regulated in separations or divorces by mutual agreement and, normally, it was decided that the pet was “in the same times of stay with the children”, regardless of who the owner was.

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What was not introduced, according to Lozano, is “How to distribute the time of coexistence or how to assume the expenses“That supposes the possession of the animal in the contentious processes.

Now, with this new law, it is introduced, as a measure related to the processes, whether there is mutual agreement or not, the keeping of animals, the distribution of their coexistence, the responsibilities of care or veterinary or food expenses.

As for the animals that are considered companion, Lozano points out that the casuistry is wide since pets can range from dogs and cats, the most common, to fish, guinea pigs, parrots, reptiles, turtles or even horses.


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