Are ‘pet prenups’ the next big thing?

Attitudes toward prenuptial agreements have undergone a remarkable transformation over the last decade, as more and more people have started to see them as a valuable tool that can save them time, money and energy in the event of a divorce as opposed to just a tacit acknowledgement that their marriage is destined for failure.

While it’s certainly encouraging to see more soon-to-be spouses turning to prenuptials to establish expectations concerning everything from child support and child custody to property division and alimony, it’s worth noting that a growing number of people are now taking things one step further by executing a specialized type of prenup that deals exclusively with their pets.

Indeed, more and more couples are executing so-called pet prenups that essentially set forth a binding agreement outlining custody arrangements and perhaps even visitation rights as they relate to the family dog, cat or other beloved pet in the event of a divorce.

While it’s certainty tempting to dismiss this idea, consider that a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that the number of pet prenups executed has actually risen over the last five years.

This, of course, begs the question as to why anyone would want to execute a pet prenup.

According to legal experts, the answer boils down to the fact that while many people view their pets as members of their family, they are still viewed as personal property in the eyes of the law.

What this effectively means is that the family pet is subject to division in equitable distribution states like Georgia, meaning one owner may find themselves completely losing any and all rights to or contact with their cherished four-legged friend.

While a court could theoretically help the divorcing spouses work out some sort of custody arrangement and visitation schedule concerning the pet, there is no guarantee that this will happen. However, having a pet prenup ensures that the couple has a mutually acceptable solution in place that can spare them from an unnecessary anxiety.

What are your thoughts on pet prenups? Is it anything you would ever consider?    

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