Who Gets the Pets in the Divorce?

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As a San Antonio Divorce Lawyer, I am aware that divorce can cause disruption in all aspects of your life, including the life of your family pet. Texas views your pet as property that is subject to division in the divorce. This probably seems like a crazy idea to pet lovers throughout Texas see their pet as a family member and not as a piece of property (like a lamp or t.v. set). If you are going through a divorce, a San Antonio divorce lawyer will tell you that deciding who your pet will live with can be a major decision. It is typically best to try to reach an agreement about your pet with your spouse. If you end up in court, the judge’s only option will be to award the pet to one spouse or the other. The judge will not be able to set up a visitation plan because the pet is only “property” according to Texas law. You could reach an agreement with your spouse for visitation with your pet, however, it may be hard to enforce this agreement down the line if your ex doesn’t follow the visitation agreement. Some celebrity couples have done just that. In a Huff Post article, it is revealed that several celebrity couples have struggled with dividing pets in divorce and some have even shared custody of their pets. As a San Antonio family lawyer, if you are considering a divorce, and thinking about your pet, think about what is best for your pet. If the judge has to make the decision, they will probably be looking at factors such as: who is closer to the pet, who has the ability to take care of the pet, and who is willing to take on the financial responsibility of the pet. If you also have children, a judge may want the pets to go with the kids as well, to prevent any further disruption to the children’s lives. After a pet is awarded to one spouse or the other in the divorce, then it is a good idea to make sure to change all necessary paperwork for your pet, including updating your vet’s office with any change of address, updating the address on your pet’s tags, verifying that your pet is micro-chipped, and changing any AKC papers.

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