Pets are a part of our families and just like other families, they can getcaught in a tug-of-war when relationships go south.

These days some couples are turning to prenup agreements to help keep thingscivil.

“My boyfriend would definitely say that Murray is his dog as well. We bothcall him our dog,” says Amy Nash.

“In a playful argument we would even say that well Murray goes with me. Thedog is mine. We can laugh or joke around about it,” says Amy.

THINGS GET COMPLICATED

Many couples are well past the joking part. Amy knows first hand, things getcomplicated with a family pet in the mix.

“He had come out of a relationship when he and I met and at the time we wouldstill take care of his ex’s dog. It was like partial custody of a child,” saysAmy.

That’s why many couples are adding the family pet to their prenuptialagreements.

“It’s just good advance planning if you are going to bring a dog or cat into arelationship,” says John Kelleher of law firm Kelleher & Kelleher.

INCREASE OF ANIMALS IN CONTRACTS

He’s been working on prenups for more than 20-years and says his firm has seena significant increase the last few years with couples wanting to includeanimals in their contracts.

Most involve dogs and cats with dogs outranking cats by 88% according to a2014 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

“We’ve definitely had a lot of cases with disputes about dogs and cats. We hadone where we had two Siberian Huskies and the parties were adamant about eachone wanting to keep both of the animals,” says John.

PETS CONSIDERED PROPERTY

In Oklahoma, pets are considered property. Unless there’s a prearrangedagreement, the person who purchased the animal typically gains custody. Somany couples are putting their demands in writing.

Pets are a part of our families and just like other families, they can getcaught in a tug-of-war when relationships go south.

These days some couples are turning to prenup agreements to help keep thingscivil.

“My boyfriend would definitely say that Murray is his dog as well. We bothcall him our dog,” says Amy Nash.

Many couples are well past the joking part. Amy knows first hand, things getcomplicated with a family pet in the mix.

“He had come out of a relationship when he and I met and at the time we wouldstill take care of his ex’s dog. It was like partial custody of a child,” saysAmy.

That’s why many couples are adding the family pet to their prenuptialagreements.

“It’s just good advance planning if you are going to bring a dog or cat into arelationship,” says John Kelleher of law firm Kelleher & Kelleher.

PRENUP CAN HELP AVOID HEARTACHE

Any prenup discussion can be awkward. But John says these agreements can helpyou avoid a lot of heartache and confusion down the road.

“There is one judge down in Family Court that was known for having the petdriven to the parking lot behind the Family Court… and basically the twoparties stood equal distance from the judge and then both of them called andwhoever the dog went to basically would win the day,” says John.

That’s the kind of chance Amy says she doesn’t want to take.

“The whole concept, the whole idea of a prenuptial agreement to me is veryunromantic… Like business is, it’s a necessary evil sometimes. So I wouldn’tlove having the conversation. But sometimes the harder conversations are theones we have to have,” says Amy.

Story originally published by USA KTNV.

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