There are many considerations if you decide to separate. Whilst arrangements for children are top priority, next is often financial division. However, we are often asked what happens to the family pet?
As pets are often seen as members of the family, it can come as quite a surprise to learn that a pet is considered a ‘chattel’ (personal property) in English law. If a court is to assist in arrangements, the pet is treated as an asset and the court would consider who purchased the pet and who can afford the upkeep.
A more unusual outcome could be a ‘shared care’ arrangement. This was the outcome for Ant McPartlin and Lisa Armstrong, who agreed a week on/week off arrangement for their dog.
To avoid arguments, we would encourage entering into a pre-nuptial agreement (or ‘pet-nup’) which can reference the family pets and the proposal for who will look after them should the marriage come to an end. Cohabiting couples could record the proposals in a Cohabitation Agreement.
Trethowans offer a free half hour initial consultation should you require any advice or assistance in family matters.
Please call the office on 023 8032 1000 or 01962 670677 to book your appointment.