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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Why more animal lovers are executing pet prenups

It goes without saying that Americans love their pets, treating them less like a companion and more like a member of the family.  Indeed, if you were to take a trip to any major retail area, chances are very good that you would encounter not just a big box pet store, but also groomers, pet boutiques and even animal hospitals.

Given this devotion to our four-legged friends, it may perhaps come as no surprise to learn that more betrothed couples are executing what are referred to in legal circles as "pet prenups."

What exactly is a pet prenup?

Much in the same way that a prenuptial agreement can formalize a couple's expectations concerning issues like property division, alimony and child custody in the event of a divorce, a pet prenup formalizes a couple's expectations concerning custody and visitation rights of their beloved animal in the event of a divorce.

Why do this?

A pet prenup, like a regular prenup, can save a divorcing couple time, money and aggravation it that it allows them to skip this potentially divisive issue in court.

It's also significant when you stop to consider that states like Tennessee view pets as personal property, meaning they are subject to equitable division. Here, a court could conceivably just award the pet to one spouse -- much like a chair or stereo -- and leave the other spouse with little recourse.

Are people really executing pet prenups?

According to 2014 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 27 percent of respondent attorneys reported seeing a rise in pet prenups over the preceding five years, suggesting that this is a very real phenomenon.

If you would like to learn more about prenuptial agreements or have question about the divorce process, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.

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