Does my dog need a pre-nuptial agreement?

Well the answer is of course not, but have you ever considered who would get to keep your precious companion if your relationship broke down?


The law in the U.K considers a pet to be a “chattel”. A very old very description of an item belonging to someone. Whilst dividing the furniture you'd also have to decide who gets the dog.

If the court were to decide there would be no welfare consideration, who is best able to meet the needs the of the dog? Who's home the most? Who can provide regular meal times and walkies? So quite simply it could come down to who bought the dog, if you cannot agree. I've seen divorced couples attempt to share their 4 legged friend and it never seems to work for long.

So what can you do? If you are cohabitees it will come down to who bought the dog or if it was a gift. You could have a living together agreement making express arrangements for you pet.

As for married couples the best way would be a prenuptial agreement before marriage setting out who the dog or cat, belongs to or will live with. Future pets could be provided for. For example I once drafted a prenuptial agreement with 5 dogs listed in the wife's schedule of assets and why not?

If you are already married but this is something of a concern for you, a post nuptial agreement could be prepared making full provision for your fur baby in the event things go wrong. Either of these solutions would be far better than trying to negotiate on a subject which will be extremely emotional at the time of a divorce. I have even advised a client to be the first to remove the dog if they want to be sure of keeping it, however awful that idea may be.

A properly drafted legal agreement could save you a lot of heartache in the future. There have been cases where people even delay leaving a bad relationship for fear of loosing their furry loved one.

And lastly have you thought about making provision for your pet in your Will, just in case?

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