Pet pre-nups: Is this the way forward for warring couples?

Cat walking out of a basket
09 Sep 2016

Even though you might not like to think about what may happen if you and your partner split up, it can be a good idea to make sure that you’re protected if the worst does happen. This is particularly true for the things in your life which are most important to you, such as your pets.

The UK is a nation of animal lovers, and while most prefer their partners to their pets, many people are happy to admit that they miss their furry friends more than their partners when they go on holiday. In fact, 87 per cent of owners check up on their pet’s well-being whilst they are away, and some even like to speak to them on the phone, or via FaceTime or Skype.

With this information in mind, it comes as no surprise that pet pre-nups are becoming as much as an everyday essential as pet insurance. In fact, research conducted by the charity Dog’s Trust showed that a third of couples would consider signing a pre-nup to clearly outline pet ownership in the event of a break up.

fluffy dog in a fluffy dog bed

Avoiding custody battles over your beloved pet

Relationships don’t always work out, and it can become difficult when it comes to deciding who should get the ownership of your shared pet. Celebrity separation pet battles are regularly in the media, and are one of the reasons why pet pre-nups have become so popular. One of the more recent bust ups was between Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, who hit the headlines as they tried to decide who got the custody of their dogs.

Like many pet pre-nup cases, the ex-couple purchased the dogs whilst they were still together and managed to share the custody fairly amicably in the early days of the break up. However, the agreement started to go sour, and they were rumoured to be taking the case to court.

Unfortunately, this can end up being the case for many couples who share pets throughout their relationship. As we know for many, pets are members of the family, so it’s no wonder that there is often a battle for them when things go wrong. It can become really stressful pretty quickly when you have to argue with your ex-partner over who gets custody of your beloved animals, so this is when a pre-nup could come in useful.

A pre-nup sets out early on who will get custody of the pets if you do end up splitting up, which can eliminate a lot of stress and heartache. If you do decide to get a pet pre-nup, the document will lay out arrangements and outline who the animal belongs to. It will also show who will have custody if the relationship is to breakdown. As well as offering custody of the pet, the agreements can also offer things such as visitation rights, or joint custody.

cat sitting on the stairs

Making the best decision for your pet

Before you sign a pre-nup for your pets, make sure that you consider the best possible outcome for the animal, rather than yourself. It’s important to factor in the following things when it comes to deciding who should end up having full ownership of the pet:

  • Who is at home more - It would be unfair for the pet to be left on its own all the time, so if your partner spends more time at home than you, it would make more sense for them to have full custody.
  • Who has had financial responsibility for the pet - If your partner is the one who has been paying for the pet, then it wouldn’t really be fair if they weren’t the person who got to keep it, so this is also worth bearing in mind.
  • Who has the pet bonded with the most - Animals often form a specific bond with one person. Although this isn’t always the case, the pet would probably be happiest with the person it had the best relationship with.

If you’re seriously considering getting a pet pre-nup, the Blue Cross charity have started their own “Blue Cross Pet Nup,” in a bid to stop animals getting caught up in relationship disputes. There is a free Pet Nup document available to download on the site, which includes all of the relevant legal information that you need to know.

Whomever owns the pet, it’s really important to make sure that you have adequate pet insurance, as it can really help with things like vet’s fees, accidents, or if even if your dog was to be stolen. Here at Asda Money we have a range of pet insurance cover types available. Find out more about Asda Money Pet Insurance here.

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