There are many obstacles to be considered during a divorce, including what will happen to your beloved animals. Although many of us consider our pets to be furry, four-legged family members, Texas law does not consider them as such. Here in Texas, animals are considered property in a divorce and the community property rule applies to them. But what does this mean for you and your pet?
According to the community property rule, the court can decide which spouse will be allowed to keep your beloved pet and cannot address custody or visitation rights for your animal. If you owned your dog or cat before getting married, you can be provided ownership if the pet could be proven as separate property. Otherwise, it is up to the judgment of the court.
We recommend working with your spouse to come up with the best arrangement for you and your furry family members. The state is more than willing to allow couples to negotiate their own divorce terms, providing you and your beloved pet a happier outcome. When discussing the matter with your spouse, consider the following thoughts:
Especially if your children are young, consider allowing the parent who has primary custody to keep your pet. Your kids – and animals – will be the most happy in this arrangement and you can always have your pets come visit with the kids.
Unless you own two pets that just don’t get along, it is usually best for the animals to stay together. Dogs and cats especially form strong and long-lasting bonds with each other and breaking them apart can cause anxiety and depression.
Be open with your attorney and let them know early on how important your pets are to you in your divorce proceedings. There are many practical ways to solve the struggle of pet custody, including the drafting of a custody arrangement for your pet.