In the context of a married couple, such agreements are commonly referred to as a ‘pet-nup’, with reference to the pre- or post- nuptial agreement they traditionally form a part of.

What can be included in a pet-nup?

Pet-nups can be tailored to your own unique circumstances.

The most common things to include are

  • Who the pet lives with, and/or how often the other party has contact with the pet
  • Who will cover pet expenses e.g. veterinary bills, pet insurance and other costs
  • Who will look after the pet when one party is on holiday

It is important to remember that you do not have to have a pet-nup. However, having a pet-nup in place can reduce conflict during a separation as the terms have already been agreed in happier times. It can also form part of a wider agreement on what should happen in the event of separation or divorce.

Considerations before entering into a pet-nup

A pet-nup may not be for everyone and there are a few considerations you must consider before entering into one, such as

  • Who bought the pet?
  • Are you and your partner amicable enough to share the care of a pet?
  • Do you have the flexibility and capacity to care for a pet?
  • Who primarily cares and pays for the pet?
  • If you have children, consider the potential emotional impact.

Is a pet-nup legally binding?

It is important to remember that, as with pre and postnuptial agreements, pet-nups are not automatically legally binding. However, if executed properly, properly drafted and entered into freely, the court is likely to rely on it when deciding what happens to your pet upon separation. They are therefore likely to be followed in the absence of a compelling reason not to.