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The 10 Most Important Things You Should Address in a Pet Custody Contract

May 14, 2021 General

Pet custody contracts are becoming more and more common. This makes sense, given how many pets were acquired due to people being at home during COVID. However, when a couple splits up or gets divorced, it can be difficult to know what to do about a pet. Some people have prenups or a tacit agreement when they get the pet, but most do not. So what can be done? Well, enter Pet Custody Contracts.

These contracts set forth who will get the dog when, for how long, and other such important details relating to pets. Here is a list of the most important things you should address in your pet custody contract:

  1. How Will You Exchange Your Pet?

Essentially, this means- are you going to meet at your ex’s house? A neutral location? Will there be long-distance traveling involved? If so, who will pay for it?

2. Who Will Pay For What.

Will you pay for your pet’s needs while it is under your care, or will you pay for food and your ex will cover grooming? Think about every potential cost related to your pet and decide how you want to handle it.

3. Major Decisions.

If your pet gets sick while one of you is caring for it, can you make decisions by yourself or do you and your ex need to discuss? If your pet needs to be put down or is suffering, can you make the call?

4. Transferability.

You need this clause to make sure neither one of you gives your pet away to a shelter or person such as a relative or friend. This is very important.

5. What Happens if One of You Dies or Become Incapacitated?

This is also extremely important. If you become incapacitated, what will happen to your pet? Will your ex take care of it? Again, make sure everything is spelled out in your contract.

6. Vacations.

Make sure you address vacations and whether one of you will care for your pet while the other is on vacation or what sort of arrangement you want to make.

7. Choice of Law and Choice of Forum.

This provision relates to which laws you want to govern your contract. If you live in separate states, consider which one you want to be your governing state. Choice of Forum is a particular county within a state. Do you want the same forum as the state laws you chose?

8. Change of Address/Phone/Email.

Make sure you have a clause stating that you both need to alert each other if any of your contact information changes. That way, there should be no surprises.

9. When Do You Want Your Pet?

This may seem logical, but you would be surprised how many people forget it! When do you want your pet? Every weekend? Every other weekend? All summer? Every other month?

10. What Happens if Your Pet Dies?

God forbid, but if your pet should perish, who gets to keep the ashes? Or do you want to split them up?


These are all important, and remember, if you don’t want to DIY your own Pet Custody Contract, Nicole can help you create one that fits all of your needs.