If you have a dog and are going to get married, one of your questions may be if you should put together a prenuptial agreement to make sure you keep your dog if you get a divorce.
As a pet parent, a prenuptial agreement is actually a very good choice if you’d like to protect your right to your pet. It’s a way of showing how you’d like to divide property, which works to your benefit if you have a pet.
North Carolina views pets as property
In North Carolina, pets are not considered in the same way as children. As a result, you don’t really seek pet custody of them, exactly. Instead, you have to decide who will receive the pets, just like you’d decide on how to divide furniture or other items.
With a prenuptial agreement, you can take a stand and protect your pet. In your prenuptial agreement, you can state that your pet will come with you if you get a divorce and that the other party will have no claim to them.
Since this isn’t a custody scenario, the pet being listed in your prenuptial agreement is acceptable.
Already married? You can get a postnuptial agreement
If you’re already married and worried about how your pet might be treated in a divorce, then you should think about establishing a postnuptial agreement. Talk to your spouse about the importance of knowing that your pet would go with you if you divorced, even if you don’t see divorce as a possibility in your relationship.
Most people understand that their pets, especially pets from before a marriage, are special to them and should stay with a consistent owner. While it is very important for you to do what’s in your pet’s best interests at the time when a divorce happens, a prenuptial agreement gives you the legal basis for making the decision to keep your pet or, if necessary, to give it to your ex-spouse or another party.
The terms of owning a pet aren’t the only things that can be added to a prenuptial agreement. Consider developing one now, so your financial and property division issues can be discussed in advance of your marriage.