Divorce, Family Law

How Texas Treats Pets in a Divorce

Posted by brian on October 21, 2019
What happens to Pets in Texas after a Divorce. Call Attorney Justin Jackson today.

A divorce is often an emotionally difficult process that requires a lot of negotiation when it comes to dividing assets and property. One thing that many people do not initially consider is that although your pets can feel like your family members, in Texas, they are actually considered personal property. Therefore, when pets are involved in the divorce process, things can become even more challenging. 

Pets are often considered and even referred to as members of the family or even children, and it can be hard to imagine living without them. Unfortunately, pets are actually classified as property, which means there is a bit less flexibility. This means that unlike in a child custody case, where time is divided between the two divorcing parents, when pets are concerned, one person must often let go and release their ownership to the other party.

Options for Gaining or Splitting Ownership of Your Pets

The idea of losing a pet can be especially difficult for those going through a divorce when the presence of a loved animal can provide emotional support. In Texas, a community property state, assets including but not limited to wages, property, and animals are considered to be communal and need to be split evenly between the spouses who are separating. Three common scenarios for establishing who will get the pets after a divorce include:

  • One party of the divorcing couple can prove original ownership of the pet. This means that, for example, one person came into the relationship with the pet. Perhaps they had adopted, purchased, or found the animal before getting married. In this case, the initial owner of the animal would typically be able to keep ownership after the divorce.

  • The divorcing spouses agree to move forward with joint ownership of the pet. When you’re working through an amicable divorce, things can become much easier. In this case, it is possible that both spouses will come to an agreement that is closer to child custody, in which they decide to share a joint arrangement of the pets. However, the court will not rule on or enforce a shared pet custody order.

  • The court is left to decide who will be the final owner of the animal. If both individuals who are going through the divorce are unable to come to an agreement on who will keep the pets after the divorce is final, the last option is to leave the decision in the hands of the court. This option is sometimes easier for couples who can not decide on a resolution, but it also takes all the control and power to decide away from the divorcing spouses. 

Talk to a Round Rock Family Attorney Without Delay

When you’re going through a divorce and are trying to figure out who will take care of your pets, things can become difficult. Texas treats pets in a divorce a specific way, and it is important to learn your legal rights before starting to communicate with your spouse on this matter. At The Jackson Law Firm, we understand how challenging it can be to discuss the arrangements for your pets during the divorce process. Call us today at (512) 528-1900 to learn how we can help. 

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