Woman considers a prenup for pups


            Posted on Nov 30,2014      

            Woman considers a prenup for pups.

Q.    My boyfriend and I are getting married next summer. 

I am a nurse by profession, but dogs are my passion.  For years I have raised, bred, trained, and shown Labrador retriever dogs.  Right now I have six Labs each with champion blood lines. 

When one of my female dogs has a litter, the puppies sell very quickly.  I net enough selling the puppies to cover my annual costs of breeding and showing the dogs. 

Someone recently suggested that I get a prenuptial agreement signed which says that, in case of a divorce, I get to keep all the dogs.  I think that might be a good idea since we don't plan to have children and my fiancĂ© is already particularly attached to two of my dogs. 

Is this something people do?

F.L., Lexington

A.   While it might sound unusual, or even offensive on some level, signing a premarital agreement that says, in the event of a separation or divorce, your husband waives whatever claims and rights he may have regarding ownership of and visiting or playing with each and every one of the dogs is not a bad idea.

Although it is against public policy to try to enforce an agreement about which parent will end up with the children, the same is not true of pets, even though many people consider pets to be their substitute children. 

If you had a contested fight now over who would get the dogs, a Judge might consider what was in each dog's best interests. But if the prenup says you get all the dogs and their equipment, I'd expect that agreement to be enforced by a Judge.

When preparing your prenuptial agreement each party must fully disclose all of your assets, especially those you want to retain as your separate property in the event of a divorce.  So, you should place a current fair market value on each of your dogs.

Also disclose how much it costs you to feed and care for the dogs.  List every expense for dog food, veterinarian, groomers, kennels, dog sitters, etc.  It may be that your fiancĂ© doesn't know how much it actually costs to have and properly care for and breed those dogs. So, he may then want you to pay those expenses. 

If you want him to contribute to the expenses once married, you may not want to open this can of worms. On the other hand, unless you get this prenuptial agreement signed, you'll probably be in for a nasty dog-fight.  Woof!