First there was the pre-nup now there is the pet-nup. Blue Cross animal charity has launched a scheme designed to help couples set down the rules as to who gets the pets following a separation or divorce.
With the help of lawyers, the organisation has created a legal agreement that lays out who is responsible for the pet and the contact rights of the other partner – similar to custody rights for children.
It comes after the organisation’s re-homing centres received an extra 1,000 animals in the last five years from owners who had separated from their other half.
Alyson Jones, Rehoming Manager at Blue Cross, said: “At our rehoming centres we deal with some very upsetting situations when pets are brought to us following relationship splits.
“It really is devastating for everyone involved – including the pet. Our pets are not just material goods; they are often at the heart of our home lives, so it is a good idea to agree on your pet’s future in advance to make a difficult situation easier.”
A recent report by the charity also showed that one in four divorced UK couples argue over their pets when they split up.
And almost two thirds said that arguing over treasured pets had added to the emotional turmoil of a divorce, with 66 per cent admitting that a pet-nup would have made the process easier.
These aren’t the first pet-nuptials. Celebrity couples like Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, and Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith have relied on them in the past.
Like a pre-nuptial agreement it is not clear yet whether British Courts will enforce the agreement, and in reality they may only serve as a guide to judges.
But like pre-nuptials it gives weight to each individual’s case should it be brought before the court.