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What Should We Do With Our Pets in Our Divorce?

 Posted on June 27, 2022 in Divorce Mediation

Plano divorce mediation servicesPets are part of the family. It is a saying we hear all the time and perhaps it never feels more true than during a Texas divorce, when a family is dividing and different people, pets, and belongings are going their separate ways. Questions about what will happen to pets in a divorce understandably cause most people to worry about the future of their relationship with their pet. 

Even though a pet may, in many ways, feel like a child to its owners, Texas law considers domestic animals to be in the same category as property like a home or a car. Although Texas requires all marital property to be divided in a divorce, do not despair just yet of losing your beloved dog or cat. Mediation may be able to help you seek better options.

Who Does the Pet Belong To? 

Marital property needs to be divided in a divorce, but personal property does not. Whether an animal is personal property or marital property depends on whether it was owned before the marriage by one spouse or brought into the family during the marriage. Property acquired during a marriage, even by one spouse, is considered marital property unless it is a gift or inheritance. This can make determining a pet’s status somewhat tricky. 

If one spouse bought an expensive dog as a gift for the other spouse, the dog may remain the personal property of the spouse to whom it was given. But if the spouse who bought the dog ended up caring for the dog entirely, including training it, bathing it, and managing its care, the dog may be seen as marital property. 

Divorce Mediation Can Help Arrange Shared Pet Custody

The question of whether a dog is personal or marital property is only relevant if a couple does not or cannot agree on a shared custody arrangement. And while Texas law requires couples to divide property, couples can come to a customized arrangement on their own or with the help of a mediator. 

For example, couples who share children may agree to transfer a dog with the children whenever the children move between their parents’ homes for visitation. Other couples may agree to share custody of a dog or cat on alternating weeks or simply agree to be a pet sitter when the owner needs to go out of town. Whatever arrangement works for you, you can include it in your divorce decree. A divorce mediator can help you discuss possible arrangements with your spouse, consider your priorities, and negotiate an agreement. 

Call a Plano, TX Divorce Mediation Lawyer

Managing your pets in divorce can be a heartbreaking endeavor, but with the help of a Collin County divorce mediation attorney you may be able to find a workable compromise. For help with this and other areas of your divorce, call our experienced team of divorce mediation professionals at Divorce Mediation Centers of America to schedule your free, confidential consultation. Contact us at 469-406-4320 today. 



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