From Prenup to Petnup

Whether amicable or not, divorces are difficult times for anyone involved.

Although some people plan ahead for this and sign prenups (short for Prenuptial Agreement, a legal contract signed by the couple before their union, which specifies – put plainly – who would get what in case of separation), from an emotional point of view, those contracts do not make the matters of dividing assets any easier.

So what if, instead of material goods, the asset in question was your pet?

What would you do then?

The animal charity Blue Cross claims to have found the solution for this, with the Pet Nup – the world’s first pre-nuptial agreement with pet welfare at its heart.

Similarly to its material counterpart (hence its name), the contract clearly states who will get ownership of a pet should a couple split up.

We do see the necessity to ensure such matters are dealt with as swiftly and nicely as possible, but we can see many reasons why the Pet Nup may not solve the problem entirely.

From a legal point of view, there is no indication yet that British courts will enforce the agreements, as explained by Simon Rowbotham, a barrister specialising in family law; and even in cases where the document would be recognised, does this make the actual decision any easier to swallow?

People make decisions at a certain time of their lives, without any guarantee of how they will feel about it later on. If on top of this, you throw in a loving and remarkably un-siding pet into the mix, then a contract may simply not be enough. Far from us to criticise the existence of such contract: although we hope that any couple facing a separation would discuss and find a happy medium when it comes to who will look after their pet, this may not always be the case, so credit where credit’s due to Blue Cross for wanting to find a solution for any pet owner facing this issue.

We do however see one limitation for this Pet Nup: Pets are not assets, they are family members in their own right. Would you sign a document before your marriage specifying who would get custody of your children if you separate? Most likely not.

So why would you do the same for your pets?

We would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you have any experience of such situation? Would you and your partner sign a Pet Nup such as the one proposed by Blue Cross?

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