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In Texas Divorce Court, Pets Are Property

There are so many different decisions that divorcing couples need to consider when they are trying to separate their lives. Property division issues can sometimes be one of the most contentious issues in a divorce — especially since these decisions can have a huge impact on a person’s financial future. For many people, it is strictly about money.

However, one property issue can also be emotional — the division of the family pet. Many Texas residents may not realize that pets are considered property under Texas law. Therefore, pets need to be divided just like any personal property. But unlike the family’s couch, bed, or curtains, animals often have an emotional connection.

This is particularly true in today’s society where pets are often treated more like children than they are animals. In fact, Americans spend approximately $41 billion on pets and their care each year. Furthermore, about 63 percent of American households own a pet so this can be a big issue for a significant portion of Texas couples going through a divorce.

While some people argue that divorce courts should split custody of the pet according to the best needs of the animal, that doesn’t always happen. People may need to take it upon themselves to come to an agreement about the family pet. In many situations, the family pet will stay with whichever person has the children or the family home in order to provide a familiar environment. Experts also warn against splitting up multiple pets that are bonded together.

In cases where both parties want to keep the pet, the couple may be best served with their own agreement. With the right help, a couple can craft a settlement that includes how to divide custody of their pet. In many cases, a settlement will help to keep the couple out of court and will best serve each person.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Who Gets The Pets In A Divorce? What You Need To Consider When Fighting Over Fido,” Maria Moya, Jan. 19, 2014