Pet Prenups Can Save You from Future Heartbreak

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Credit: Liz Calka

While divorce rates have dropped slightly to 39 percent compared to when they were once closer to 50 percent, that is sure is still a high likelihood of a marriage ending. As a result, some millennials have become privy to this bleak forecast for their relationships, which explains the increase with them creating prenups with their partners. In fact, some people are signing contracts to address one issue specifically—with pet-nups.

Yes, you read that right. Some millennials are creating prenups just for their pets. And here’s why it makes sense.

Let’s back up: Studies show that millennials are less likely to own homes, cars, and even have children than Baby Boomers, and while there are a lot of reasons for this shift, one of them stems from a fundamental mistrust of the economy since the Great Recession. Financial factors, in the broad sense, also play a role. Wages are stagnant while cost of living is up. Life decisions that used to be taken for granted by many are now often looked at as luxuries.

With lower rates of homeownership, car ownership, and childrearing, it’s no surprise that a shared pet has become one of the most prized assets a couple can have. We say “assets” because while some couples treat their pet like a human child, it’s technically a piece of property in the eyes of the law. Property and assets are why we have prenups at all, hence the rise of the pet-nup. According to a survey by Direct Line Pet Insurance (and first reported in the Daily Mail), pets were the major source of contention in a quarter of divorce proceedings in the U.K. The survey, which included 2,000 people and more than 100 lawyers, found that lawyers can spend an average of 25 hours on dealing with the pet issue in a divorce case.

While this trend might seem bizarre, it’s quite reasonable. The more couples accept that they really might divorce one day, the more they can legally prepare in advance for that scenario, should it unfold. Divorce is difficult enough by itself, so why throw a battle over a pet into the mix if a couple can agree to terms on that issue beforehand?