What happens with pets in a divorce?

By Sullivan, Klocke, Evans & Goenawein, P.C. on March 21, 2020 • Firm News

A divorce comes with many difficult decisions. During the property division of your divorce, you may face a decision that nobody wants to make concerning your pet. According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas law treats pets as property without regard to the emotional connections you and your family have to the pet. The court will divide the pet just as it would any other asset, which can produce some issues.

To begin with, a pet is a living thing. It must have someone care for it and watch over it. You cannot set it aside until the divorce is final. In addition, your pet is probably like a family member. You both have a relationship with the dog and probably want to keep it in your life. Unfortunately, the law does not allow for sharing property very easily. This can cause issues when it comes time to “divide” the dog.

Typical approach

When it comes to an asset you both own, once of the typical ways to split it is to sell it. Unless your pet is an expensive purebred, though, selling it will not make sense. So, the court really cannot divide it in that way. What usually happens is that the judge will give the pet to one of you.

The issues

Of course, losing a family pet is difficult. The court has no interest in the attachments you feel and will not set up custody for a pet. Unless you and your spouse can come to an agreement, it is likely one of you will lose out.

It is also possible that the pet could lose out because the court will award it to whoever has legal ownership rights. The well-being and happiness of the pet are not something the court will consider.

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