Both pet ownership and divorce enquiries are on the rise due to the covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.
And, while it’s usually children that are prioritised, battles over pet custody are becoming increasingly common and can cause serious conflict between estranged couples.
Paul Lancaster, partner and family law expert at Blacks Solicitors LLP, said: “Unfortunately, when it comes to divorce, pet custody is usually resolved by simply identifying the legal owner as the person who purchased the pet originally.
“This is disputed by many couples due to the emotional attachment that is formed for the animal, so it’s advised that an agreement be made privately before it comes to settling pet disputes in court.”
Paul advises couples to consider signing a prenuptial agreement to state who the pet will live with, along with who will care for the pet and be held financially responsible should the relationship break down at a later stage.
“While in reality a pet is a living being and often regarded like a child of the family, in law it’s treated the same as any other ‘asset’ meaning there’s no reason why a prenup can’t be effective.”