The Pet Pre-Nup: Or, Who Gets Gets to Keep Fido in the Divorce

August 10, 2015

Whether you’re a dog person, a cat person or even an anaconda person, until recently the decision about which partner gets the pets in a divorce has been a largely personal matter. Hence the need for the Pet Prenuptial Agreement, the "Pet Nup".  Or, even more adorably, the "Pup Nup". Recent statistics reveal that 25% of ex-spouses found themselves arguing over who kept Fido, Fluffy and Bubbles. 66% of pet-stressed respondents admitted that these disagreements would have been far easier to negotiate with a pet-specific prenuptial agreement.


With a Pet Nup in place before entering a marriage, couples can agree precisely what happens to pets in the event of divorce. From who gets to take Rover home, to who will contribute to any pet-related expenses, this agreement is a legally binding contract which eliminates bickering once and for all.


A pet is for life, not just a marriage

But an animal pre-nup isn’t just about making life less argumentative for divorcing couples.


The motivation behind its creation was due to the number of pets who find themselves homeless in the wake of a break up. While many couples will fight fiercely for ownership of their furry friend, others are less dedicated to their loyal companions.  Many pets find themselves homeless as a result of broken relationships.


Who gets custody?

While some divorcing couples no longer wish to be part of their pet’s lives, the vast majority care deeply about their animals. A divorce is often a heart-rending, stressful and difficult process, which can be worsened by the loss of a much-loved pet. For childless couples in particular, losing a faithful friend as the result of a break up can mean extra heartache.


Cats and dogs are the most “fought over” animals in divorce cases. Horses, guinea pigs and rabbits are less frequently squabbled over, but can also be the cause of additional arguments.


The pet nup takes the form of a simple but legally binding Deed of Agreement.  With prenuptial agreements covering everything from sound systems to gadgets, this new form of agreement is essential for any responsible pet owners considering tying the knot.



Information in this article provided by: Betteridges Solicitors Ltd


Fanning Law, LLC Can Help


The facts of each case are unique and the laws in each state are different. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. It is not legal advice. For more information about your specific questions, contact Bill Fanning at Fanning Law, LLC - The Offices of William C. Fanning, Jr. - 301.934.3620 or at



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