INDIANAPOLIS – Divorce can get messy, especially if you’re splitting up things you both love. Attorneys are advising you to get a pet prenup if you care enough about your dog to fight your ex for it.“Generally speaking, animals are considered to be personal property,” attorney Burton Padove said.But it can be hard to view your pet as property instead of family.“We all consider our pets to be members of the family,” Padove said. “We don’t consider our stereo or our cars to be a member of the family.”Padove says pets are more like a hybrid than anything else. Yes, they are part of your family, but technically they are considered to be personal property like a bike or car – so it’s subject to equitable distribution, in Indiana at least.Equitable distribution means it gets split up like property when divorce happens. But a big trend is starting to happen when couples can’t decide who the pet will go with.“By agreement of the parties, there have been ways to actually create a visitation schedule similar to when you have children,” Padove said. “And one party has custody, and the other doesn’t.”Couples are avoiding that hassle by creating pet prenups.An American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey shows pet prenups are up over the past five years.Padove says it’s a smart move to prevent trouble in court.“I think our courts are too overburdened to take on pet disputes on a regular basis,” he said.So by having a prenup, you skip that court time.The survey shows dogs take the top spot as most disputed family animal at 88 percent.Cats are in second at 5 percent. Other animals that made the list included horses, iguanas, pythons and giant turtles.
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