Couples urged to get pet-nups before marrying

Couples tying the knot are being urged to draw up a pre-nuptial agreement in respect of their pets.

And no, this isn’t a Hollywood fad. The Law Society itself is reminding couples that one-in-four divorces involves a dispute over pets.

It says that a ‘pet-nup’ for sharing custody of a pet and other details including upkeep costs would provide peace of mind for both.

The suggestion follows research by leading pet charity Blue Cross, which found that more than one in four divorces include a dispute over pets. Dogs and cats are the most fought over pets followed by horses, rabbits and guinea pigs.

Law Society President Andrew Caplen said: “Solicitors are usually the first port of call for people who are divorcing so perhaps we are a little on the cynical side – but we see the problems caused when relationships break down acrimoniously and it’s usually costly, stressful and emotionally draining for both parties.

“Pets are part of the family so it makes sense to think about their welfare.”

Alyson Jones, rehoming development manager at Blue Cross, where many pets are rehomed following relationship breakdown, 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. One partner will sometimes bring a pet to us for rehoming without the other’s knowledge.

“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. It makes sense to agree up-front who will keep your pet so that they don’t get dragged through the courts or end up in our re-homing centres.”