It’s me or the Dog, Cat, Chicken or Goldfish

By Clarkes

It will likely come as no surprise that the percentage of households with domestic pets continue to rise especially after a pandemic that saw the country forced to stay at home.

The Pet Food Manufacturer Association’s statistics indicate that there are now over 12.5 million households with a dog, 12.2 million households with a cat and five million households with a fish tank; but what happens to the animal if that household breaks down?

Whilst we appreciate that your furry friend would likely mean more to you than who keeps the lawnmower, the Courts do not and many do not realise that the family courts view a pet as a possession and treat them no different to a chair or cooker. As such, it is important to truly consider what will happen to the waggy tails or hamster wheels if the relationship is to end. National charities such as the PDSA recommend that when purchasing an animal couples enter into a “pet-nup”. A document setting out the ownership of the animal, who is responsible for the relevant care and financial needs and what would happen if your relationship broke down. At Clarkes we recommend that you not only consider what happens to the animal but also your joint assets and obligations by entering into a cohabitation agreement if you are unmarried, pre-nuptial agreement if you are engaged or post-nuptial agreement if you are already married or in a civil partnership.

If you would like advice on how to protect your property interests, rights to your belongings and pets then please contact the Family team for further details.