What is a petnup? And why is it now in the UK?

Posted by Argos. November 24th 2014.

Although many will have heard of a pre-nup, few will have heard of a petnup. So what exactly is it?

The Blue Cross, a leading animal charity, has introduced a legal document – a little like a pre-nup but for pets. With four animals per week being admitted into homes due to relationship breakdowns, owners are now being encouraged to state what will happen to their pets if they are to part ways.

Young couple and dog

Pets and marriage

The charity has teamed up with divorce lawyers ‘Lloyd Platt and Company’ to reduce the affect marital disputes can have on both pets and their owners.

The document is entirely free and can be downloaded from the Blue Cross website here.

Signing the form will cover ongoing pet care in the event of a marriage breakdown with an additional form entitled the ‘Deed of Agreement’ also available to solve any ownership battles in the case of a divorce.

These legal documents are the response to overcrowding in many of the organisations re-homing centres. In the last five years The Blue Cross has been forced to look after an additional 1,000 animals simply because the owners have gone their separate ways.

In certain cases, one partner will even bring in a pet without the others consent.

Puppy in the middle

Just as you wouldn’t want your son or daughter to be at the centre of a dispute, you wouldn’t wish it on your pet either. This is why agreeing to your animal’s future in advance is a great idea – especially as recent research reveals one in four divorcees argue over who gets to keep the dog or cat.

Arguing over a pet not only causes stress to the animal but it also increases the emotional turmoil of a divorce and this means it can be as damaging for the owners as much as the pets.

Those who have been involved in a messy divorce in the past, where animals have been concerned, have said the petnup is long overdue. Many owners who have split up from a partner have said they worry about vet check-ups and the amount of exercise their pet is getting on a daily basis.

Dogs and cats tend to be the most fought after animals, with rabbits, horses and guinea pigs following closely behind. Just as many choose to create a prenup for houses, gadgets and cars, it’s important to create a petnup for your beloved animals and ensure that they are always properly loved and looked after – no matter what your own personal situation.

Back to blog