As recently discussed, disputes over the family pet in a separation appear to be becoming more frequent. Even in the most amicable of divorces, some things cannot be split down the middle! Can the uncertainty be prevented?
According to the Pet Industry Association Australia, more than 62 percent of Aussie households own a pet -- 38 percent have dogs while 29 percent have cats. For couples who see pets as family members, a prenuptial agreement might be the answer. A pet-nup (or pup-nup for dogs) is essentially a prenuptial agreement that decides what will happen to an animal in the event of partners separating.
There has been much discussion in other jurisdictions such as the US and the UK recently about these agreements. For example, in the UK figures recently published by Direct Line, a major insurance company, revealed that last year more than 28500 of 110000 divorce cases involved a dispute over a pet. Their research pointed to reports from family lawyers that there has been a near 25% increase in the past three years for requests from clients for pet prenups. This agreement can include everything from contact time to breeding rules.
Of course, one problem that may arise in enforcing a pet-nup is that you cannot be sure if the pet in question will still be part of your life at the end of a long-term relationship. The pet-nup could refer to just one pet, or it could cover a situation where a pet is acquired during the relationship or marriage.
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