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Horses and Divorces

Lawyers report that couples are increasingly arguing over their horses during their divorces. Bitter battles can ensue as couple argue over who gets the horses and who pays for it! Analysis has shown that up to one in fifteen divorce negotiations involves a dispute over a horse. The arguments often revolve around who is responsible for covering the costs associated with the horse. Costs like these can add up to thousands of pounds each year.

Divorce lawyer Alice Couriel, who works for Hall Brown Family Law, has explained that the disputes over horses often become extremely intense. The horse lover will claim that the horse is a need. Their spouse will contend that it is a luxury.

Childless Couples and Horses

Apparently, the majority of such disputes take place between childless couples with the horse having become incredibly important to the wife who cannot then face losing their mount. Some horse owners are wealthy enough not to have to worry too much about the costs involved in keeping the horse. However, for other couples the expense is potentially a serious problem. The cost of keeping a horse becomes more of an issue during a divorce as the couple face having to finance two homes instead of one.

In 2015, the National Equestrian Survey found that three in four riders were women. There were 962,000 regular female riders compared with 348,000 males.

Millionaire’s Divorce

A landmark divorce in 2008 demonstrated the potential issues that can arise when a divorce involves an argument over a horse. Millionaire horse surgeon Ian Wright was made to pay the costs of stabling for his wife's horse after a very bitter divorce. But this ruling was later reversed by an appeal judge. In 2015, the judge told Tracey Wright that she should get a job! The judge ruled that maintenance payments should stop and that she should work to pay for her lifestyle.

The judge felt that Mrs Wright had exaggerated her needs. Also Mr Wright’s earning capacity had been reduced, forcing him to delay his retirement for five years. The order was for him to continue paying £20,400 per year for his children and their private school fees but he no longer had to finance the horse.

The Divorce Laws in England and Wales

The law in England & Wales is clear regarding pets. During divorce proceedings, they will see a pet as an item of personal property. Just like a piece of furniture or jewellery. Where disputes arise over who will keep the animal, rulings can simply come down to whose money was used to purchase the pet. Also who has financially maintained the animal. This situation can seem unfair if the other party has spent much more time looking after the animal or is in a better position to care for it.

People can become very emotionally attached to their animals. So the bitter nature of disputes over animals should come as no surprise. The cost of keeping many pets is negligible but a horse is an expensive luxury and so the costs of keeping it become an important aspect of the divorce proceedings.


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