With approximately over 40% of households owning at least one pet, when a relationship breaks down disputes over pets can occur. So, what happens to our four legged family members when couples separate?

The traditional approach at court is that pets are property, the same as your car or home. Currently it is unlikely that there would be any consideration for what is in the best interests of your furry friend.

However, more novel approaches are now taking place, with agreements being reached on contact arrangements for pets.

The Blue Cross have taken further steps and created a ‘pet-nup’, which sets out who will own the pet in the event of a relationship breakdown: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-nup.

The best option when getting a pet is to discuss what would happen to your animal if your relationship were to break down and formalise this agreement.

Ultimately if a relationship does break down without agreement being reached, the best stance is to see who was primary carer for your animal and who has the ability to financially support and look after your pet in the future. Mediation may also be a helpful tool in reaching agreement.

If you require family legal advice, contact Bookers & Bolton on 01420 82881/88903

Written by: Hannah Anderson, Solicitor & Head of Family