Supreme Court orders shared custody of Stella the golden for BC exes

A BC judge has ordered a broken-up couple to share custody of their dog, Stella, in a court decision this week.

BC updated its Family Law Act this year so that pets are no longer seen as possessions, but as members of the family. This week, a BC judge applied the new principles to the real world.

Sahar Bayat, a nurse, went to court to get shared custody of her beloved golden retriever, Stella, who her ex-partner, Omid Mavedati, a vet, was taking care of.

The couple bought Stella when they were living together in 2020, but they broke up in 2023.

The judge determined that both parties loved and cared for Stella, had contributed financially to her well-being, and were professionals capable of caring for her. The couple was ordered to share custody of Stella on a week-on, week-off basis.

The updates to BC’s Family Law Act came into effect in January. Judges now must consider eight factors when making decisions about the future of family pets:

  • The circumstances of how the pet was acquired
  • How much each spouse cared for the pet
  • Any history of family violence
  • Any risk of family violence
  • Any cruelty or threat of cruelty toward the animal
  • Relationship a child or children have with the animal
  • The willingness and ability of each spouse to care for the pet
  • Any other relevant circumstances

Would you go to court for your pet after a breakup? Let us know in the comments.