The popularity of pets went sky-high during Covid and, frankly, we’ve never relied on them so much for emotional support. According to the PDSA, over half of all adults in the UK are pet owners, between them owning ten million dogs. Despite being adored family pets with a place in our hearts like no other, dogs have the same legal status as the sofa they nap on. Which means that if a couple divorces or separates, disagreements about who takes the dog can end up in court…
Enter the pet-nup - a type of prenuptial agreement that specifically details what would happen to a couple’s pet in the event of a divorce or separation. Of course no one enters into marriage with the intention of separating, but having a difficult conversation now around who has the right of ownership if the relationship breaks down can save a lot of heartache down the line.
Pet-nups specifically relate to married people, so if you have no plans to marry it’s worth thinking about a co-habitation agreement. These legal agreements set out who owns what and in what proportion in a relationship and can include provision for your pets.
If you’re thinking about a pet-nup, or including your pet in a cohabitation agreement, here are some things to consider:
- Have you and your partner reached an agreement between yourselves about pet custody?
- If not, who paid for the pet?
- Was it a gift?
- What evidence is there to support ownership? Do you have a receipt from the breeder or paperwork from the rescue charity (Blue Cross, Battersea Dogs Home, etc)?
- Who will pay for the dog’s upkeep (food, flea/worm treatment) and insurance or medical bills?
Any relationship breakdown is incredibly stressful. Agreements are really tough to reach when emotions are running riot and financial costs have to be considered. The popularity of pet-nups is on the up and in our view that can only be good news for our canine pals…
If you want any advice about making a pet-nup, will, or amending an existing agreement, you can call 02380 218000 or visit our website: ericrobinson.co.uk/dogstival
We will donate £20 to Support Dogs for every Will/pet-nup we write (or amend) for anyone who attends Dogstival within 8 weeks of the event.