Teamed up with, SA’s #1 ranked* insurer, qualified veterinarian and lawyer Trudie Prinsloo has shared some insights about what happens when pet parents split up.

For many people, pets are members of their families, meaning neither spouse might want to give up their beloved pet when they divorce.

How does the law see pets?

In South African law pets are viewed as moveable property, much like a car.

Legal ownership is the determining factor, meaning that whoever bought and paid for the pet will likely be given custody preference.

However, if there is a prenuptial agreement that specifically determines who should get the pet, the court will give effect to that.

Should couples draw up an agreement when they get a pet?

It is best to draw up a prenuptial agreement before the marriage, with provision for any pets plus additional ones that might be adopted later.

A signed, written agreement relating to the pet or pets will be helpful, although not strictly enforceable. It will at least prove the parties’ intentions if a dispute arises, and would be better than no agreement at all.

What if you don’t have an agreement?

The best way to solve a divorce dispute would be through a settlement agreement. Taking the pet’s wellbeing into consideration is important, including factors like who the primary caregiver is, and whether the pet is more attached to one person than the other. While you take care of the cuddles let us take care of the vet bills, visit for an obligation free quote

*T&Cs apply. Risk profile and policy dependent.

**As rated on

Dotsure Limited (Registration number 2006/000723/06) is a licensed non-life insurer and authorised financial services provider (FSP39925).

Picture/s: Supplied

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