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What Happens to Family Pets in a Texas Divorce

 Posted on February 07, 2024 in Property Division

TX divorce lawyerPeople are familiar with the typical things that get divided in a divorce: marital property, custody, assets, etc. But what happens with a family pet? If a couple has brought a pet into their marriage, and neither of them had the pet beforehand, will they need to have some type of custody arrangement? 

The state of Texas considers pets to be property. In a community property state like Texas, couples getting a divorce can come up with any arrangement for the division of their marital property, but if they are unable to find a mutually agreed arrangement, a judge will need to decide who will get the pet. If you are headed toward divorce and find yourself wondering what will happen to your beloved family pet, a Dallas, TX divorce lawyer can offer you guidance

Does Either Spouse Own the Pet Individually?

As is the case with any property, some questions can help determine whether either spouse has rightful ownership of the pet in a divorce. For example:

  • Did the pet belong to one of the spouses before they got married?
  • Was the pet inherited by either spouse during the marriage?
  • Was the pet a gift from one spouse to the other during the marriage?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it will typically mean that the spouse who had the pet first or was given it as a gift will be granted the pet in a divorce settlement. Otherwise, the couple will still have to reach an agreement.

Are There Children Involved?

If the couple has children, the custody arrangement could influence the fate of the pet. The court might decide that the spouse with primary custody should have the pet so that the children can feel settled in the place that is their home most of the time. On the other hand, the judge might rule that the pet goes with the children; it is at the mother’s home when the children stay with their mother and at the father’s home when the children stay with their father. There are several ways this decision could be made, and it will take the family’s specific circumstances under consideration.

Contact a Fort Worth, TX Divorce Attorney

At Clark Law Group, we know how important your beloved pet is to you. If divorce is in your future and you have questions about what will happen with your family pet, a knowledgeable Dallas, TX divorce lawyer can answer those questions and advise you on your next steps. Call 469-906-2266 so we can review your case and offer our guidance.

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