Couples now putting “pet-nups” in place in case they split

6th August 2015


You have heard of pre-nup agreements and even post-nup deals are becoming more common but the latest legal trend is for couples to include custody agreements over their pets should they split.

Supermodel Kate Moss and her estranged rock star husband Jamie Hince have reportedly called it a day but are currently fighting over the custody of their dog Archie. Previously former Hollywood star couple Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhall fought over their German Shepherd post-split.

But despite being a nation of pet lovers, new research from The Co-operative Legal Services shows more than nine out of 10 couples, or 93%, have not given any thought as to what would happen to their pet, should they ever break-up.

The survey also highlighted that around a third, at 31%, of animal loving couples fear their pets could become tug of love victims if they split up.

However almost 7% of couples have arranged a pre-nup agreement, also known as a ‘pre-pup’, in order to prevent a furry custody battle and ensure that if their relationship was to breakdown, clear guardianship arrangements would determine who would gain custody of the pets.

Further to this, 31% of UK couples have or would consider putting an agreement in place in the event that their relationship breaks down. According to the research, 18-24 year-olds are most likely to put an agreement in place, with  38% doing so, in comparison to only a 11% of adults aged 55 and over.

Although 39% of couples surveyed jointly own their pet or pets, almost half of women compared to a quarter of men say that if the relationship was to break down, they would keep the pet. Worryingly, 38% of UK adults admit that they have no idea what would happen to their furry companion if they split from their partner.

Tracey Maloney, head of private family at The Co-operative Legal Services, said: “It’s encouraging that a tenth of couples have made decisions about the custody of their pets in the event that they separate.”

“Pets are increasingly being seen as part of the family and when relationships break down, it’s only at that point that couples begin to think about who will gain custody of their pet. A pre-nup agreement can help couples make these important decisions in advance, so that the worst does happen, both parties are clear on who will gain custody of their pet.”

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