Legal firms said celebrity custody battles over pets have helped to increase interest in setting up such agreements.

London - Forget the pre-nup – these days, it seems, couples are taking out “pet-nup” agreements that state who will get custody of their animals if they split up.

One in 14 couples now have a contract agreeing who will keep their beloved cat or dog if they break up, a study found.

Legal firms said celebrity custody battles over pets have helped to increase interest in setting up such agreements.

The survey of 2 000 pet owners in relationships found seven percent now have a pet-nup. A third of respondents said they fear they would face a tug of war over their pets if they split from their spouse.

Women were twice as likely to keep their pet, with 44 percent saying it would live with them compared to 23 percent of men. Two fifths of those polled said they had no idea what would happen to their pet in the event of a break-up.

Tracey Maloney, of the Co-operative Legal Services, which carried out the research, said: “With the recent rise in pre-nups, post-nups and ‘living together’ agreements, people are becoming more aware that [a pet-nup] is a possibility.”

Singer Cheryl Fernandez-Versini won custody of her two chihuahuas after her 2010 divorce from footballer Ashley Cole. Model Kate Moss and husband Jamie Hince, who have reportedly split up, are said to be set for a custody battle over their dog Archie.

Daily Mail