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HCR Law Events

24 November 2020

‘You can keep the house – I’ll have the dog’; HCR launches ‘Pup-Nup™’

When a couple splits up, their dog can become a bone of contention – for some, it’s as important as sorting out the money or the house. Because dog ownership is a real commitment, Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ family law team has launched a canine version of the pre-nuptial agreement, to set out who will look after the dog if a relationship ends; with so many buying puppies in lockdown, this kind of care is vital.

The Pup-Nup™ agreement will not only safeguard one dog’s life but also help other dogs – each agreement will be accompanied by a donation from HCR to Dogs Trust, safeguarding dogs who still need help and care.

Family lawyer Nick Gova, a dog-lover himself, who came up with the idea, explained: “When deciding who should have the dog when a relationship ends, the English courts treat dogs in the same way they would treat contents and possessions; the assumption could be that the person who paid for the dog should keep it.

“But dogs are valued members of the family, and disagreements over their care can lead to difficult and lengthy legal proceedings. A Pup-Nup™ is an effective way to agree on what happens to your dog ahead of any problems; no-one wants their relationship to end but, just like a pre-nuptial agreement, if you can address important issues together early on, you will be better protected in the future.”

The Pup-Nup™ specifies where your dog will live, its diet, insurance and health care provisions, holiday arrangements and what would happen if one owner does not carry out their duties of ownership.

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About the Author
Nick Gova, Partner, Head of Family Law Team, London

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