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The Rise Of Pet-Nups12th May 2022

by Anna Burton on 12th May 2022

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Pet-Nups - The Pet Equivalent Of A Pre-Nup

While many couples put agreements in place to protect their assets,  pet owners are now being encouraged to think about their beloved pets.

The coronavirus pandemic saw a substantial increase in the number of families purchasing pets. Figures from the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) annual report found that a staggering 3.2 million households acquired a new pet during the pandemic.

But what would happen to these pets if their owners got divorced or separated?

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What Is A Pet-Nup?

A pet nup is a contractual agreement between a couple which sets out what would happen to their pet should they part ways. A 'pet-nup' should include who the pet will live with, what contact it will have with the other party, and who will pay for its upkeep/ vet bills.

Isn't This Just Something Celebrities Do?

Custody of pets has seen some press coverage recently, particularly in 2018, when Ant McPartlin and his ex-wife Lisa Armstrong were reported to have arrived at a 'shared custody' agreement over their chocolate labrador, Hurley.

However, it is not only celebrities who may find themselves faced with this issue.

In recent years, our family law team have seen a rise in disputes over pet ownership. It would make sense that these types of dispute will only increase in the future,  considering the popularity of pets, the money involved, as well as the huge emotional investment.

Is It Worth Having A Pet-Nup?

A pet-nup agreement can assist during a separation, making discussions more amicable and, importantly, gives couples one less thing to dispute.


Is It Legally Binding?

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.

What Will The Courts Consider?

When deciding who keeps a family pet, the court will consider factors such as who paid for the pet, who has legal ownership of the pet (i.e., to whom it is registered) and who pays for the pet insurance.


Book A Free Or Fixed Fee Initial Chat

Book a free phone chat or fixed fee meeting – or contact Family Law Solicitor Anna Burton for more information, 01202 338800.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.