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Who Gets the Family Pet in a Dallas, Texas Divorce?

 Posted on February 13, 2022 in Divorce

T^X divorce lawyerFamily pets can feel like more than just a pet - they often feel like another member of your tribe. Children are often particularly attached to pets, especially when the pet has been present for the child’s entire life. But when a couple in Texas gets divorced, what happens to the family pet? If you are considering divorce and wondering whether you will be able to keep your cat or dog, read on.

Pets are Legal Property

While a pet has nothing in common with a car, legally speaking, pets are considered property under Texas law just like money, vehicles, and any other asset. Texas is a community property state, which means that any property that either spouse acquires during the marriage is considered marital property and must be divided. Usually, property is divided equally between spouses unless there is a good reason for doing otherwise.

Clearly, a pet cannot be divided into two. But unless one partner owned the pet before the marriage and can claim the pet as individual property, rather than marital property, the pet’s post-divorce ownership must be determined. Some common arrangements spouses may settle on include:

  • Sharing ownership of the pet after divorce - In this case, the pet will often simply follow the children to whichever parent the children are with. If there are no children involved, spouses can still develop a “custody” schedule, but this must be detailed in the divorce decree and the pet is still, technically, property of one spouse or the other.
  • One spouse gets sole ownership of the pet - Depending on how attached both spouses are to the pet, the spouse who wants exclusive ownership may have to give up other marital property in exchange.
  • Asking the court to decide - When a couple cannot agree about who should get the pet, a court can make the decision for them. A judge will often consider which partner found or bought the pet, trained the pet, and managed the pet’s health and daily needs.

Call a Dallas, Texas Community Property Division Lawyer

The stress of not knowing what will happen to your beloved family pet in a divorce can feel like one complication too many. With the help of an experienced Dallas divorce attorney with the Clark Law Group, you can get your questions answered and learn more about what you may be able to expect from your community property division. We are here and ready to help. Call us today to schedule an initial consultation at 469-906-2266.



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