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Divorce lawyers urging couples to sign a ‘pet nup’ before getting married

Louise Sheasby, chartered legal executive at Blythe Liggins, is now offering pet nups to couples.

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trendy pregnant woman with her pet dog
(ESB Basic via Shutterstock)

By Adam Dutton via SWNS

A firm of divorce lawyers are urging couples to take out "pet nup'"agreements to avoid dog fight custody battles.

Since the first COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, around 3.2 million households in the UK have acquired pets.

Every year around 30,000 divorce cases involve pets but this number is set to “explode” after Brits turned to animals for comfort during the pandemic.

High-profile divorces have seen couples such as Ant McPartlin and ex-wife Lisa Armstrong fight for custody over their beloved pets.

Louise Sheasby, a chartered legal executive at Blythe Liggins, is now offering pet nups to couples.

She said: “A pet is basically treated like a personal possession – to be divided up with the car and the flat-screen TV.

“Even before COVID-19, there had been a few high-profile celebrity splits where the couples disagreed about who the dog should live with, resulting in hugely expensive court proceedings.

“This can be emotionally and financially distressing.

“It’s why some family lawyers are now offering ‘pet-nup’ agreements.

“Couples are being encouraged to think about what would happen to their much-loved cat or dog if they were to separate.

“A pet-nup agreement can set out things like where your pet lives if you separate, how often they can see the other party, insurance and the purchase of food.

“Like prenup agreements for couples who plan to marry, and living together agreements for cohabiting couples, the judge will more than likely respect the decision of the parties even though it is not automatically legally binding.”

Animal lovers are also being urged to spell out their wishes for their pets in their wills.

Louise added: “While the majority of people will own a pet at some stage in their lives, not all will remember to think of them when they are making a will.

“Caring for a pet can be expensive and time-consuming, so it is important to think about what will happen to them when we die.”

“We actively encourage our clients to consider this when taking instructions, to ensure pets are cared for as part of the family.”

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