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Farah Khalid

A pet-nup is an agreement that exclusively dedicates itself to the welfare and arrangements of a pet when parties separate and divorce. It commonly forms part of a wider pre-nuptial agreement, but can also stand alone. Below are some helpful tips to consider when entering into a pet-nup.

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1. Timing

You should try to agree the arrangements before you purchase a pet because there maybe challenges ahead if you welcome a pet into the family but cannot agree the arrangements.


2. Legal ownership 

At present, the law on divorce in England and Wales treats pets like chattels (personal belongings). You should therefore consider who is the legal owner of the pet and to which party the pet is registered in order to decide whether the pet will be classed as “separate property” (non-matrimonial) or “joint property” (matrimonial). 


3. Future living arrangements 

You must be clear and realistic about what the pet’s living/practical arrangements will be in the future. For example, will the pet spend equal time with each party or will there be an uneven split of the pet’s time.


4. Future expenses 

Consider (1) what are the associated costs; (2) how those will be paid and by whom; and (3) whether inflation needs to be factored in. 


5. Intention to be bound 

Pet-nups are not currently binding in law, but will likely be upheld if entered into correctly. It is therefore important to remember the purpose of the agreement which is that you intend to be bound by the terms of the agreement.


6. Review 

Consider when you think it would be appropriate to review the terms of the pet-nup. 


7. Modification or variation 

Consider when it may be appropriate to change the agreement.


8. Termination 

Consider when it may be appropriate to bring the pet-nup to an end.


9. Costs 

Consider who will fund the costs of the pet-nup or whether these will be divided between you both, equally or unequally.


If you are considering welcoming a pet into your marriage and then our specialist family law team can assist you in agreeing the arrangements for your pet or putting measures into place to ensure that any potential disputes arising in the future can be avoided.


Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require our assistance.


Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.

Get in touch

If you have any questions relating to this article or have any legal disputes you would like to discuss, please contact the Family Law team on [email protected]

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