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Consider adding your pampered pet to a prenuptial agreement

The fertility rate in the United States has dropped significantly since the Great Recession began in 2008, and in 2017, it had plunged to its lowest rate in 30 years.

Instead of raising babies, residents of New York and elsewhere are adopting pets. And instead of stipulating who owns the antique china cabinet in a prenuptial agreement, couples are putting provisions for their furry family members in their prenups.

The trend is being driven by millennials. In fact, a 2018 survey of 1,500 millennials found that 72% of them had pets, and 67% of those respondents thought of those animals as their "children," or "fur babies."

It's common for couples who live together to adopt a pet together, and both parties understandably become smitten with their animal. And that has led to an increase in prenuptial agreements that address animals, settling custody in case the couple breaks up.

Under New York law, pets aren't children but rather property. And like a cherished family antique can be assigned to one party in a prenuptial agreement, so can a pet – with visitation rights to boot.

There are all sorts of statistics about how millennials treat their pets, including a 2017 study from the Conference Board in New York that projected that by 2025, Americans' spending on their education will grow by 2%. Their spending on pet-related goods and services will rise by 8% in the same time span.

You enter your marriage confident it will last, but what if it doesn't? A family law attorney can help you draft a prenuptial agreement that can dictate the future of your pet in the event of a divorce. And it's worth it. After all, your dog – or your cat or another animal – is man's, or woman's, best friend.

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