Pets are a valuable source of companionship, affection, support, and entertainment. No wonder many couples opt to adopt a pet together or bring their four-legged friend into their marriage. According to a recent Pet Ownership Study, about 53.0% of households in California own a pet.
Though married couples often agree to share their wealth, assets, and care for their animals together, things don’t always turn out as anticipated. In the event of marriage dissolution, including your pets in your prenuptial agreement can help resolve pet custody and support issues, avoiding a lot of potential conflicts.
If you’re considering drafting a prenuptial agreement and want to understand your options for including pets as a provision, consulting with a knowledgeable California family law attorney is important. Karen S. Brown has the experience and resources to assist and guide clients in drafting important marital documents. As your legal counsel, she will evaluate your unique situation, discuss the benefits and drawbacks of including pets in your prenuptial agreement, and guide you through the legal processes involved.
The Law Office of Karen S. Brown proudly serves clients throughout Los Angeles County, Beverly Hills, Ventura County, Orange County, Beverly Hills, and Long Beach, California.
California’s Pet Custody Law
On September 27, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed California’s pet custody law – Assembly Bill No. 2274 (AB 2274) – into legislation. Under the new law, California courts are allowed to consider pet provisions, including pet custody and care, during a legal separation or divorce proceeding. According to the new law:
- Either spouse can file an order seeking pet custody.
- Companion animals (pets) are to be treated in a different way compared to marital assets.
- The court shall assign sole or joint ownership of a community property pet while taking the well-being of the pet into consideration.
- California courts can establish a custody-like arrangement (shared custody) between the divorcing or separating spouses and their pets.
- The court may also enter a decree seeking temporary care for the animal by one of the spouses before the final ownership is determined.
Including Pets in Your Prenuptial Agreement
Many individuals often get emotionally attached to their furry companion. For couples who decide to adopt a pet together or bring their pets into their mutual lives, things can turn messy when they split. Therefore, including pets in your prenuptial agreement allows you to make adequate provisions for your four-legged companion in the event of a breakup in your marriage.
Prenup provisions for pets can include the following details:
- Where each pet will live
- How custody will be shared