Pet Custody: Protecting Your Furry Friends in Relationship Breakdowns

Pet Custody: Protecting Your Furry Friends in Relationship Breakdowns

Getting married is an exciting time in anyone’s life. However, it’s essential to consider what could happen if the relationship were to break down. Marriage is a contract, after all, so it’s wise to think about protecting your pre-marital assets, including your beloved pets.

In the UK, with approximately 9.9 million dog owners alone, it’s no surprise that pet custody becomes a significant issue in nearly 30,000 divorces per year. Whether you have a dog, cat, or budgie, losing custody of your pets is something no one wants to experience.

That’s why a growing trend in recent months is the “pet-nup.” It’s an agreement that determines pet custody in the event of a relationship breakdown. While not legally binding, it can help guide a court’s decision. This simple step can save you from lengthy and emotionally draining legal battles.

Understanding the Legal Status of Pets

Legally, pets are currently classified as personal property or “chattel.” This classification treats pets similarly to furniture or cars. While this may seem cold-hearted, we all know that pets are cherished members of our families. But in a divorce court, proof of ownership is usually the deciding factor in pet custody matters, unless a pet-nup states otherwise.

Establishing Proof of Pet Ownership

Proof of pet ownership in the UK can vary, but examples include:

  • Evidence of purchase.
  • Registration with organizations like the Kennel Club or The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy.
  • Microchip registration details.
  • Veterinary records.
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Dealing with Shared Ownership

If both partners have contributed financially to obtaining a pet, the court may decide that the pet should remain in the family home. However, unlike arrangements for children, the court typically won’t establish visitation rights or financial support. Nonetheless, the court might consider financial provision for expenses such as vet bills or boarding costs.

Protecting Pet Custody without Marriage

If you and your partner are not planning to marry but live together, you can still protect your pet custody rights through a cohabitation agreement. This contract sets out what should happen to assets, including your furry friends, in the event of a relationship breakdown. With our expertise in preparing such documents, we can guide you through the process and help you determine if it’s the right option for you.

We’re Here to Help

Whether you’re getting married, cohabiting, or contemplating divorce, we understand the importance of safeguarding your rights to pet custody. Our team is ready to provide you with the necessary guidance and support in protecting what matters most: your cherished pets.

Click here to explore Karen’s Kollars – a trusted name for quality pet products that will keep your furry friends happy and stylish!

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