Have you got a ‘pet nup’ in place?

As a nation, we love our pets, and with more than half of households in the UK owning at least one pet, pets are a huge part of our lives for many of us.  

If you are in a relationship and own a pet together, have you ever discussed what will happen if you decide to part ways? While, at the moment, you might not see the need to draw up an arrangement to cover such an eventuality, unfortunately, things can change. In this blog, I will look at why it might be worthwhile considering a ‘pet nup’.

What is a pet nup?

A pet nup, also known as a pet prenup, is an agreement between two people who own a pet together. It outlines how they will handle the care and ownership of the pet should they decide to part ways. It is an important document to consider when in a relationship where there is a pet, as it can prevent a lot of heartbreak and stress if a couple decides to separate.

What happens to pets in separation proceedings?

When a couple decides to separate, the ownership of the pet is typically based on who purchased the pet and who has been the primary carer.  This can be complicated and confusing, leading to drawn-out court proceedings and a potential tug-of-war over the pet. With a pet nup, the ownership of the pet is specified, so there is no need to go to Court.

Is a pet nup legally binding?

A pet nup is not a legally binding document. However, as with pre and post-nuptial agreements, they are being increasingly recognised during separation proceedings and given more consideration by the Courts. They can make it easier for a judge to determine what will happen to the family pet.


​ Yes, as a pet is considered property under the law, a clause can be included in a standard pre-nuptial agreement to help prevent future disagreements in respect of the care of the pet and make pet custody after divorce clear.

Why should I consider getting a pet nup?

A pet nup is beneficial for both pet owners and pets. It ensures that both parties understand their rights and responsibilities regarding the pet, and it can help prevent disputes and court proceedings if you and your partner decide to part ways.

Advantages of having a pet nup agreement in place

Even if you think you might never need to use it, there are several advantages to drawing a pet nup agreement with your partner, as it can:

  • Specify who is the primary owner of the pet
  • Establish who will be responsible for the pet’s care and expenses
  • Establish visiting rights, if desired
  • Prevent disputes and court proceedings if you separate
  • Protect both parties and the pet from potential legal and financial issues

Considering a pet nup is a great opportunity to discuss how the pet will be handled in the event of a separation and to put the necessary measures in place to protect the pet and both parties. In addition, taking the time to create a pet nup can save stress in the long run.

To discuss this, or any other related matter with Sharon and her team, please call us, start a live chat or email us at info@hartbrown.co.uk.

*This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.


Sharon Powell

Partner, Head of Family

Sharon has over 20 years experience in all aspects of family law and in particular the financial aspects of high value divorces. Sharon is a...

Sharon Powell-Head of Family

Partner, Head of Family

Sharon Powell

Sharon has over 20 years experience in all aspects of family law and in particular the financial aspects of high value divorces. Sharon is a trained collaborative lawyer and she is particularly experienced in resolving medium to high net worth finances as well as children disputes including alienation.

She is a Resolution member and qualified in mediation and collaborative family law.

“A break up of a relationship is very sad for everyone concerned” says Sharon. “I believe that our role is to try and help both parties reach a solution which they are both happy with. When feelings are running high this can sometimes be difficult but I believe we can make a difference”.

Sharon is often thanked by her clients for her sympathetic and supportive approach through a traumatic time in their lives.

Her most memorable case was in a divorce where financial matters involving significant assets were resolved amicably yet parties persisted to argue about kitchen utensils!

Sharon qualified as a solicitor in 1986 and joined Hart Brown in 2007 becoming a partner a few months later.