The rise of the prenuptial pet agreements

The rise of the prenuptial pet agreements

More than a quarter of us would consider a prenuptial agreement that covers our pets in case of a breakup, according to new research from Direct Line Pet Insurance. The rise of these ‘pet-nuptial’ arrangements shows how seriously people take their relationship with their pets, considering them in a similar way as they would children.

Dividing the bassets

A ‘pet-nuptial’ is a deed of agreement between the parties who set out clearly what will happen in relation to the pets in the event of a relationship breakdown or the parties are no longer living together. Pet-nuptials can be specifically drafted to apply to an individual case in the event of a separation caused by divorce, dissolution of a civil partnership or the end of cohabitation or a split from university friends who are no longer going to stay in the same accommodation.

The normal content of a pet-nuptial will resolve where the pet will live, how often each of the parties should see the pet, who will pay for the costs of the pet or insurance, and a multitude of other issues specific to the parties themselves.

Who's rover's owner

When it comes to pet ownership, people don’t believe animals should be treated like property, with the purchaser being considered the legal owner. The majority of Brits (58 per cent) believe ownership should be determined by the person who is the primary carer. Despite the fact that the carer may not have purchased the pet, the relationship with the dog or cat should be the main consideration when deciding on ownership.

Just one in six would say that the person who purchased the animal, or collected it from the rescue shelter, should be considered its owner and a mere one in twenty believe that the person who pays for food and vet treatment (both four per cent) should be considered its owner.

The advice

Vanessa Lloyd-Platt, divorce lawyer at Lloyd Platt & Co Divorce Solicitors said: “I would recommend anyone entering into a relationship involving a pet to set out in detail what should occur in the event the relationship breaks down to avoid later arguments over who owns the animal, and more importantly who should pay for the cost of its care. Legal remedies are very limited but can cost thousands of pounds.

“All of this can be avoided by the drafting of a simple pet-nuptial deed of agreement. The clauses have often included who will pay for the insurance, the cost of vet bills, the funeral or cremation costs, where the pet will be housed during holidays, how they should be cared for, who will be responsible if there is a breach of the law, and in the case of dogs, who will own any valuable puppies. These are issues that owners should consider particularly in the excitement of purchasing a pet suddenly, which they can find themselves having to think about when the relationship breaks down.”