Is your pet ownership preventing you from getting married?

  • Posted

It is estimated that half of households have some form of pet whether it is Goldie the fish or Rover the dog.

When a relationship breaks down the pet can prove to be the bone of contention when dividing the assets. This is a very real issue, and research by an insurance company has shown that pets can be used as a bargaining tool in divorce proceedings.  Nearly 30,000 divorce cases in court in the past year involved conflict over a pet.  When Cheryl and Ashley Cole divorced the Judge was asked to decide the fate of their pet pooches with Cheryl being granted ‘custody’ of their two dogs.

Many pets are integral members of the family and if you cannot bear the thought of losing contact with your pet you should consider getting a ‘pet-nup’ to prevent your pooch causing a fall out should you divorce.

A pet is property in law so there are no additional provisions setting out how their time is to be divided.  A bit of forward thinking can help you avoid costly litigation in the future.

A ‘pet-nup’ can cover everything from contact time with the animal, vet’s bills and information about the grooming arrangements for the animal. If you paid for the pet and brought it into the marriage you may want to set this out clearly in any agreement to avoid any future argument about where your animal will live in the future.

As with any disputes with children it is always best to try and work out an agreement that suits everyone and considers the welfare of the animal. If both parties are very invested in the animal an agreement that allows for a 50/50 ‘custody’ agreement may be the best way to resolve any disagreements.

Contact our divorce and family law experts today

If you would like to discuss any aspect of divorce and family law, or want to draw up a pre or post-nuptial agreement or cohabitation agreement, call our mediation, divorce and family dispute resolution solicitors in absolute confidence on 03456 381381. Alternatively, email us at