The recent WBZ News Channel 4 segment on pet prenuptial agreements highlights a common area of controversy in divorce and how an increasing number of pet owners are taking steps to protect their interest in the family dog or cat. A pet prenuptial agreement (or a “Pup-Nup”) is an agreement that spouses enter into, which provides for care, custody and even “pet parenting time” in the event the marriage breaks down. Such agreements can help couples save thousands of dollars in legal fees, time and emotional energy in the event a conflict erupts over who should keep the family pet.
While Massachusetts does allow individuals to obtain restraining orders (i.e. 209(A) Abuse Prevention Order) relative to their pets, the Commonwealth still treats pets as any other form of property, such as a car, furniture or bank account, and as such pets are subject to division during a divorce pursuant to certain factors. However, most pet owners will likely agree that their pet is far more than a piece of property, but rather a family member or child. Pet prenuptial agreements are not typically complex, and if you are already contemplating a prenuptial agreement, a pet provision may be inserted.
If you are interested in ensuring that your family pet is protected, please give me a call.
Scafidi, Juliano & Hurd, LLP
310 Washington Street, Suite 201
Wellesley, Massachusetts 02481
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