Divorces are often messy – even between the most civilized couples. But if you love your pet enough to fight your ex for it, attorneys are recommending that you get a pet prenup.
While you may see your pets as members of your family, they are generally recognized as personal property in a divorce and are subject to equitable distribution in many states. In this case, pets are split up like property when a couple divorces.
To avoid the heartache and grief of having to “divide” the pets, many couples are now creating pet prenups, and attorneys are encouraging the trend. In an agreement, couples can create a visitation schedule of sorts that’s similar to the visitation schedule created for children. One party will have custody of the pet, while the other will not.
As more and more families are taking in pets and more couples continue to divorce, disputes over who gets to take the dog (or cat) full-time can get heated. To avoid the hassle of having the court settle the dispute, couples are creating pet prenups.
A survey from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers shows that pet prenup agreements are on the rise over the last five years. Attorneys say these agreements are a smart move. Many courts are too overburdened to handle pet disputes regularly. A prenup allows couples to avoid court time, and eases the burden on local courts.
According to the survey, dogs are the most disputed family pet at 88 percent. Cats come in second at 5 percent. A few other animals made the list, including giant turtles, horses, pythons and iguanas.
While no couple wants to think about divorce – especially those who are newly married – those with pets should consider meeting with an attorney to create a pet prenup just in case of divorce.
The Micklin Law Group is a New Jersey law firm specializing in family law and estates. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. To set up a free consultation, call 973-562-0100.