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Create a Pet Custody Agreement

A pet custody agreement specifies how the custody of a couple’s pet(s) will be handled when the relationship ends or they divorce. Pets are considered property, and their custody does not fall under the same laws that govern child custody. If a couple wants to formalize custody arrangements for their pet, they can use a pet custody agreement to set out the rights and responsibilities of each party.

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Learn more about pet custody agreements
A pet custody agreement specifies how the custody of a couple’s pet(s) will be handled when the relationship ends or they divorce. Pets are considered property, and their custody does not fall under the same laws that govern child custody. If a couple wants to formalize custody arrangements for their pet, they can use a pet custody agreement to set out the rights and responsibilities of each party.

Other names
A pet custody agreement may also be called any of the following names:
  • Animal custody agreement
  • Pet agreement
  • Pet custody form
  • Pet custody contract

Who should use this form?
Divorcing couples with a pet, or couples who live together and have acquired a pet, can use a pet custody agreement to formalize a custody and visitation arrangement, and to agree on how financial obligations involving the pet will be handled.

What to include in a pet custody agreement
The agreement should contain the names of the parties, the name of the pet(s), the agreed upon custody and/or visitation schedule, expected standard of care for the pets, and details around driving, expenses, and medical decisions.

You might also want to include terms around limiting transfer of ownership of the pet, what sort of notice each party must give if they cannot keep the agreed upon schedule, and how you will settle any disputes.

Next steps
After the parties sign the pet custody agreement, they should keep a copy of it on hand in case a dispute arises. You aren't required to file the agreement with any official authorities.

You may wish to have an attorney review the pet custody agreement to ensure that the terms of the agreement are both fair and binding.
Important Terms: