To many people, their pet is more than a possession; it is a fur-covered child. For that reason, the question of who gets custody of the dog during a divorce or separation is becoming more contentious. Countless Texas residents have found themselves facing having to say goodbye to a beloved pet when the relationship ends. For that reason, more owners are seeking to draft a new type of prenuptial agreement referred to as a pet-nup.
According to Direct Line Pet Insurance, approximately 30,000 divorce battles involve a dispute over pet custody. The change in the importance of pets to their owners is reflected in the willingness of spouses to fight for ownership. For that reason, many owners are drawing up either a prenup or a cohabitation agreement to settle the matter beforehand.
Owners have shared their heartbreak when they had to lose custody of a pet to a former partner. According to family law professionals, a pet prenup can include any details that an owner feels is pertinent. If there is no agreement in place, a judge will usually take into consideration which owner contributes the most to the pet’s care, including taking the animal for regular veterinary care.
In cases that involve child custody, a judge will often order that a pet follows a similar schedule that is established for the children. In spite of whether a pet is presented as a gift, it may be possible that a judge will decide that the pet will be awarded to the person who purchased it if there is no prenuptial agreement that dictates who will take ownership. Texas residents who are interested in avoiding the possibility of a heated dispute over property division may consult with an attorney to draft an agreement that would meet their needs.