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Who gets the dog? Pet Nup?

family lawyer

Never mind the children, the family home or the pension – what happens to the family pets? This is no joke and a real and valid concern for many couples.

The Blue Cross are finding an increasing number of homeless animals as a result of relationship breakdown. See their video below.

According to research carried out by the Blue Cross charity:

  • Four pets are taken in by Blue Cross every week following relationship breakdowns
  • Dope Dog reports that dogs and cats are the most fought over pets, followed by horses, rabbits and guinea pigs
  • When Brits split it is usually (56%) the wife or girlfriend who keeps the pet, whereas just under a third of men (29%) retain full ownership
  • For those who couldn’t decide who should keep the pet, 15% decided to give them to a family friend, 12% to family members and 6% to pet charities such as Blue Cross

The Blue Cross have developed a ‘Pet Nup’  and deed of agreement  which aim to set out the rights of ownership in the event of relationship breakdown.

During an emotional break up it is not uncommon for one partner to rehouse a pet without the other’s knowledge. This can add distress to an already fraught situation. With a Pet Nup in place this situation could be avoided.

Whilst it may be a useful starting point to have a signed agreement James Maguire, a family law specialist, says it is not clear whether British courts will enforce these agreements.

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: or telephone:

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