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Will I lose my dog in my divorce?

Owning a pet is a significant financial, time and emotional commitment. It is this emotional commitment that makes things complicated for couples as they go through divorce. Since many pet owners view their four-legged friends as members of the family, deciding which spouse will keep the pet can turn into an emotional tug of war.

Are pets property?

Kentucky state law views pets as property. This means that much like the marital home or furniture, they must be included in the property division process. This can feel counterintuitive to some pet owners, who might feel as if they are facing the distinct possibility of losing access to an animal that is like a child to them.

Enter the pup-nup

A pup-nup can help pet owners address these concerns. Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a pup-nup is used to address what will happen to a beloved animal should a married couple decide to divorce. A thorough pup-nup should include the following:

  • Whether just one spouse keeps the pet
  • A time arrangement for those who plan to share ownership
  • Who is responsible for which expenses
  • Who will take the pet to the vet

Saying goodbye to a member of one’s family should not be a requirement for divorce. Creating a pup-nup can be a smart way to protect the special relationship between owner and animal, and it can be made either before or after saying “I do.” Creating such an agreement on one’s own can be more complicated than it may first appear though, so couples who are ready to take this step may want to consider speaking with an attorney who is well versed in Kentucky family law.