I can’t believe I haven’t written on this topic before. Or maybe I did and forgot but anyway, let’s talk petnups or prenups for pets. With the current situation I do my grocery shopping at 6 am. This morning on the radio they were discussing pet prenups. Should you get one? I get this question a lot and this comes up often in divorces. Who gets the dog, cat, or bird?
Pets and a Breakup
Let’s first discus how pets are treated in case of a divorce or breakup. While your pet may be a family member to you, to the court your pet is property just like your house, jewelry, or 401K. Pets are fought over in divorces just as much children, bank accounts, and alimony (now known as spousal maintenance). It is usually not an easy decision on who gets the pets. Even if you are not married the issues are the same. Who does the pet belong to? Non married couples will often rely on the courts to decide. Couples who can’t decide often draft pet visitation agreements. Alternating who gets the pets and sometimes pet support, like child support except for your pet.
Are petnups real?
Yes, petnups are a real thing. If you are getting married the details of who gets the pets in case of divorce can go into your prenuptial agreement just like anything else. If you are a couple living together it can go into your cohabitation agreement (you should) have one. They can also be stand-alone documents or agreements between couples.
Couples with pets or that are planning to get pets should seriously think about who will take care of their pets in case of a breakup. It can be a clause in your prenup or something of its own and as always the prenup princess can help.