Pet Prenup for Your Furkid: Yay or Nay?

A couple gets a pet prenup for their dog

A prenup is, amongst other things, an agreement detailing division of property upon divorce that many couples draw up before getting married. As gloomy as it sounds, in the eyes of the law pets are considered property too. This is why having a pet prenup can be a valuable safeguard in any pet parenting relationship.

This may seem glum, but in fact the purpose of a safeguard isn’t just to guard against things going wrong. Safeguards help you feel safer when things are going well too.

In other words, a pet prenup and any other safeguard (like seatbelts, car insurance, or pet insurance) can improve your peace of mind. And that peace of mind gives you the freedom to enjoy life with less worry.

Nobody wants to imagine relationships souring and parties going their separate ways, especially when life is sweet. But knowing you’ve had the courage and foresight to plan ahead for any eventuality can strengthen your bonds and lead to greater happiness.

This – and increased public conversation around “who will take care of the furkids?!” – is why the pet prenup is fast becoming an important aspect of coupled pet ownership. Whether you’re married or not!

Here’s what you need to know about the ‘petnup’:

What is a pet prenup?

Whether you’re dating, living together, married, or anything else, and you get a pet together, you suddenly have shared property.

Of course, we know pets are much more than property – they’re family too. This is why a pet prenup can offer real protection, not just for the pet parents, but for the pet themselves too.

pet parent gets custody of dog with a pet prenup

Pet prenup Australia: Who gets to keep the dog?

As mentioned, pets are more than property and quickly become an indispensable part of a couple’s life. They’re part of the family, and sometimes even the glue that binds people together. Which brings us to a valid question: if a couple splits up, who keeps the pets?

Our pet insurance operations manager Michelle Le Long shares the following:

“It’s a question worthy of significant consideration.
Knowing who will take responsibility for pets, under what sort of visitation and other arrangements, is crucial in moving on from a divorce, separation, or break up.”

A pet prenup takes the added thorn out of your pet’s paw, so to speak. It reduces the chance of couples spending hours arguing over pets. It also helps reduce any likelihood of either party using a pet as ammunition in a disagreement. And lastly, having pets’ provisions already laid down significantly reduces tension and friction in an already troubled time.

You don’t want to be fighting like cats and dogs, least of all for them. You also want to safeguard pets from bearing the brunt of either party’s emotional fallout or vindictiveness.

Is a pet prenup really necessary?

Whether or not to get a pet prenup is up to you and your partner. Much like whether or not to secure a prenuptial agreement before getting married.

But for astute pet owners, it’s worth considering even if your relationship is rosy right now. With pet adoption levels on the rise due to the seemingly endless pandemic, and relationships constantly put to the test under unusual amounts of strain in today’s unusual circumstances, Le Long shares that in the United Kingdom “pet-nups” are gaining popularity.

a couple pet their dog after signing a pet prenup

Pet prenup agreement – a binding contract

A prenuptial agreement is generally a legal contract a couple enters into prior to a civil union, or marriage. Effectively, it lays out your agreed to conditions on who gets what when it comes to assets, property, spousal support or maintenance, and retirement benefits.

There are many reasons why creating a pet prenup that outlines who’ll be the primary owner in case of separation can be invaluable.

We know how hard breakups are for everyone, from couples to kids, friends, and family. Often though, pets are overlooked among the stress. But for a pet who shares a bond with both people, it can be hard too. Not to mention that pets are known for sensing, and even feeling what their pet parents are feeling.

Pets can very easily end up distressed when living arrangements, human interactions, and schedules suddenly change. We now know that separation anxiety in pets is real, as is obsessive-compulsive disorder as a result. At heart, a pet prenup is for your pet as much as it is for you – as a way for loving and responsible pet owners to provide for their furkids, both materially and emotionally.

cat dad with cat after pet prenup gives him custody

Does a pet prenup cost money?

When it comes to a pet prenup, you don’t necessarily need a lawyer to create a legally binding arrangement. If like many, you’re watching the purse strings on account of the pandemic, there are plenty of pet prenup templates online.

However, it’s worth noting that in certain legal cases, a judge may overrule a prenup signed without proper legal representation. The official route is to find a local lawyer who can draw up your pet prenup with their legal expertise.

Le Long adds:

“A prenup is a bit like a pet insurance policy. While you don’t want risk to become reality, if it does, it always pays to be prepared. For both your and your pet’s overall wellbeing.”

Pet insurance, a purrfect safeguard

One of life’s great lessons is to plan for bad times during the good. This is why pet insurance is one of the greatest gifts you can give your pet. You never know what will happen, from accidents, injuries, and illness, to your regular vet checkups.

Choose the pet policy that suits your pocket and helps cover all these pet health costs.

How would you, like to proceed?

How would you, like to proceed?