Prenuptial agreements are contracts made by a couple before they marry that outline the division of assets and property should the marriage end in divorce. It is a delicate topic that many engaged couples consider when one spouse has higher assets or more valuable property than the other spouse. An emerging trend in prenuptial agreements is showing that couples worry not only about financial and physical property, but also about who receives the marital pet should a divorce occur. Pet prenups are becoming as common as wedding hashtags for millennial couples.
Just like a prenuptial agreement that focuses on financial assets and personal property, a pet prenup has many considerations. Couples engaged in a custody battle for their dog, cat, bird, or reptile can experience tremendous stress and grief. Emotional attachments to our pets can be almost as strong as those attached to our children, therefore couples that do not consider a pet prenup can find themselves engaged in a bitter battle should the marriage end.
Proving Pet Ownership is Imperative
Ownership becomes an issue for a lot of those fighting for custody of their pet. Like all personal property, ownership tends to be granted to the spouse that actually paid for, or put forth the majority of payment for the pet. A receipt or bill of sale from the breeder or pet store where the pet was purchased should be kept so that the ownership of the pet in the prenup can be established. The cost of providing for a pet is also a consideration in the prenup. The spouse with primary custody of the pet must be able to financially provide for food, shelter, medical treatment, and routine vet visits. Couples need to spell out the specific details in how these needs will be met in the event the marriage ends.
Custody for a Pet
The couple may also consider joint vs. primary custody of the pet when developing their prenuptial agreement. The prenuptial agreement is developed while couples are on good terms in their relationship. This is the time to consider what they will do with custody of the pet should the marriage take a turn for the worse. A joint custody arrangement would allow each spouse to share in the life of their pet even if they are living apart. The benefit to deciding this before the marriage takes place is avoiding bitter disputes that can happen when emotions and resentments are running high.
For couples seriously considering a pet prenuptial agreement, consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer is advised. Laws vary between states, and a qualified and reliable divorce lawyer can ensure that your pet prenup would be recognized by a court of law should a divorce occur. Even if your marriage does not last, the relationship with your pet can be one that continues.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Marrying Couples Develop Sound Prenuptial Agreements
If you or someone you know is considering a prenuptial agreement, the experienced and compassionate Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help. Our team is dedicated to helping marrying couples develop prenuptial agreements that protect their assets and valuable property in the event of a divorce.
Call us at 443-589-0150, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located throughout the state of Maryland and we serve clients in Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County, including the towns of Baltimore, Towson, Essex, Columbia, Pikesville, and Bel Air.