Have you considered a Pet-Nup?

A “Pet-Nup” is for life not just for Christmas


With Christmas fast approaching, you may well be considering buying a family pet for the children or a new furry friend as a present for your other half. However, have you considered who would keep your beloved pooch in the event that you separate from your partner in the future?


The pet charity, BlueCross, has undertaken research which reveals that 1 in 4 divorces now involves a dispute over a pet. With a number of well-known celebrities, including Ant McPartlin, drawing battle lines over who should get custody over their pet dog, this issue appears to be receiving more public attention than ever.

The current legal position is that a pet is a chattel. This means that a pet is viewed as an item of personal property much like a piece of jewellery, painting etc and, as such, the person whom bought the animal, and to whom it is registered, is legally entitled to keep it. This is the case unless it can be clearly evidenced that the purchaser then gifted the animal to another person.


In order to avoid such disputes, the Law Society has advised that parties consider a “Pet-Nup”. Similar to a standard pre-nuptial agreement, a “Pet-Nup” would cover all of the usual financial considerations relating to the breakdown of a marriage, whilst also including a specific section to deal with animal-related issues such as where the animal will live and who will be responsible for vets’ bills, insurance costs etc.

If you are considering entering into a pre-nuptial agreement and have a beloved pet, a “Pet-Nup” might be the best way for you to address all of your key concerns in one go.


If you need any advice or assistance relating to Pre-Nuptial Agreements or the breakdown of a relationship please do not hesitate to contact the family team on 0191 384 2441 or cel@swinburnemaddison.co.uk

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