Are pet-nups legally binding?
Here at Lund Bennett we recommend that it would be sensible for a couple to consider entering an agreement, a ‘pet-nup’, as a pre-emptive measure in the event of separation or divorce. A pet-nup is an agreement between the parties setting out the right of ownership as well as the arrangements for the pets on-going care including who will be responsible for meeting any expenses associated with the pet (for example food, vet bills, insurance payments etc). It may also cover who will have ’sole care’ of the pet and any arrangements for contact in the event of separation or divorce.
Similar to pre-nups and separation agreements, the law does not presently recognise pet-nups as being legally binding, however like pre-nups and separation agreements the court is likely to take such an agreement into account in the event of separation and divorce.
Many people consider their pets as part of the family. Owners can form long relationships with their pets: the average lifespan of a cat is 15 years.
It is therefore important that the subject of ‘who keeps the dog’ is given proper thought and a pet-nup considered before the possible breakdown of a relationship to avoid, or at the very least reduce, any potential disputes arising in the future.