Do you need a petnup? How to navigate breakups when you share a pet

How do you resolve? (Image: Getty)

If you’re within the throes of affection, settling down and getting a pet along with your associate can really feel like probably the most tempting factor on this planet.

Whether or not you begin small with a hamster or rabbit, or go straight in with a pet, getting a pet usually looks like the logical subsequent step in a relationship.

However what occurs if you break up?

Vic, 47, from Spalding, had been together with her ex-husband for practically 20 years after they divorced.

They’d had pets all through their complete relationship and, by the point it ended, have been the proud mother and father of 1 cat and one canine.

Fortunately, the choice was easy: Vic would maintain the cat and her ex-husband would maintain the canine.

‘When it came to the end of the relationship, of course there was sadness but it was the right thing to do,’ she tells

‘I missed the canine however we each knew she was his canine – she merely liked him excess of she tolerated me.

‘Likewise, the cat, Frankie, was rather more “my” cat.

‘When I hear about people who have awful pet custody battles, I feel very fortunate we were able to agree amicably.’

Not everyone seems to be so lucky, although. 

Vic nonetheless has Frankie together with her now (Image: Vic Paterson)

In accordance with analysisfrom Direct Let Pet Insurance coverage, greater than 1 / 4 of the some 101,500 divorce instances within the UK final yr concerned the custody or care of a canine or cat, a quantity that’s prone to rise provided that 3.2million pets have been purchased in the course of the pandemic.

The analysis additionally discovered that custody of pets was extra essential than automobiles, property and jewelry in half of these instances, which is not any shock provided that pets are sometimes thought-about as a part of the household. 

It’s additionally why separating could be emotionally damaging, not only for homeowners, however for pets, too.

The analysis discovered that just about half of pet homeowners who’ve skilled a breakup (46%) consider their pet’s well being was negatively affected by the breakdown of the connection, with 5% saying their pet wanted veterinary remedy consequently.

However what’s the answer?

One concept may very well be drawing up a ‘petnup’, which, in line with Estella Newbold-Brown, associate at Stowe Household Regulation, are on the rise – the truth is, the analysis exhibits a 20% improve in demand for petnups within the final three years.

‘Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a petnup is an agreement that will determine what happens to the pet or pets if a couple breaks up,’ she tells us. 

Vic now owns 5 canines together with her present husband (Image: Vic Paterson)

‘Unlike a prenup, they can be prepared for unmarried couples, as well as married couples.’

It’s essential to notice that whereas, like prenups in England and Wales, petnups should not legally binding, they will be considered by the courtroom throughout a divorce listening to. 

‘At Stowe Family Law, we’ve seen an growing variety of individuals in search of authorized recommendation on their pets, with individuals eager to ascertain who will maintain the household pet if their relationship ends,’ Estella continues, moderately than having to hash it out after the very fact.

That is beneficial: ‘Setting out an agreement before the pet joins the household means eventualities are agreed upon as early as possible,’ she provides.

If it comes all the way down to a authorized battle over who will get custody of your pet, it’s additionally essential to recollect what constitutes possession.

In accordance with Direct Let Pet Insurance coverage, greater than two fifths of divorce legal professionals listed cost of every day care as the important thing issue, whereas over 1 / 4 mentioned the particular person listed because the proprietor on related paperwork is essential. 

The first caregiver is taken into account in simply 12% of instances.

That is how Petrina, a 38-year-old canine coach from London, was capable of maintain custody of her staffie, Brooke.

‘Because I paid for the dog, it was my name on the pedigree papers and microchip, so it didn’t come to an excessive amount of of a query over who was going to ‘own’ the canine,’ says Petrina. 

It was a straightforward determination for Petrina to maintain Brooke (Image: Petrina Firth)

‘Plus, when we split up, it was easy enough for me to keep ownership, as it was my place he was living in.’

As somebody on the board of the Affiliation of Pet Dog Trainers, Petrina says she at all times advises individuals seeking to share a pet to resolve whose canine it’s.

‘That way, if the worst ever happens you’re clear the place you might be,’ she says.

‘Otherwise, it can cause a huge amount of conflict between the split up partners, and confusion for the dog.’

Regardless of already having to half methods with one pet, Vic now shares 5 canines and two cats together with her present husband, and so they’re but to have a critical dialog about who will get custody.

‘My current husband and I have been together for ten years,’ she says.

‘We have occasionally, jokingly, mentioned who would take which dog – but it’s not one thing now we have ever severely sat and talked about.’

However, she’s positive they’ll be capable to work issues out amicably: ‘We both love our pets, but if the worst happens and we split up, I’m assured we’d do what was greatest for them at the beginning.’

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