Lockdown was a make-or-break situation for most couples in the UK. Despite only dating for a couple of months, many partners moved in together for the lockdown period. We cuddled, binged TV, bickered over cleaning, and some of us made the next step with a fur baby.
As lockdown restrictions eased and the world reopened, there was an influx of breakup announcements. Celebrities 'growing apart' happened thick and fast – from Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich to Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green. The celeb breakups were closely followed by texts from loved ones detailing their rocky relationships. Suddenly, the romantic isolated bubble of lockdown had burst, and relationships were breaking down all around us.
There were 3.2 million pet purchases made in 2020 as people desperately sought company during social isolation. Many of these purchases were made by couples, and unfortunately, some of these pet parents are no longer together.
Prenuptial agreements are fairly common with couples from various economic backgrounds. A prenup is a contract written up before the couple gets married outlining how they will divide their assets in the case of separation. It usually details finances, assets, children, family property and much more. However, couples have only just started to consider what happens to their pets in the case of a divorce—introducing the petnup.
Gabrielle Read-Thomas, a senior solicitor at Stowe Family Law Firm, defines a 'petnup' as an agreement that will determine what happens to the pet in the event of a relationship breakdown. This agreement will prevent disputes and any added stress or legal bills.
Gabrielle has dealt with her fair share of cases involving the custody of a pet. She said: "I've dealt with a man in tears over a golden Labrador named after a character in The Lion King. Another man was devastated by the wrongful collection of two of his three house rabbits by an ex-partner, and finally, the most beautiful Alaskan Malamute, who a husband used to pull at the heartstrings of his wife when it came to a divorce settlement."
There has been a large amount of discussion in the media over whether prenuptial agreements even stand up in court. Gabrielle argues that petnups and prenups are very similar and they are not always recognised in the courts of England and Wales. It still isn't entirely clear whether UK law will officially introduce petnups – but apparently, it is under consideration and may come into play in the next few years.
However, a petnup can carry considerable weight right now if it has been filed and filled out correctly. So – if you want a petnup, you might want to seek advice from a lawyer to ensure it meets the requirements of a legal document.
Words by George Arkley for Female First, who you can follow @George_Arkley on Twitter.
Tagged in relationships