Pet Custody Battles In Divorce—An Overlooked Obstacle For Divorcing Couples

Pet Custody Battles In Divorce—An Overlooked Obstacle For Divorcing Couples

Divorce can happen to virtually any couple, and while it is a process that no one wants to ever go through it is an unfortunate reality for many. When you start to go through the divorce proceedings, there are obvious hurdles you will have to overcome—many of which are fairly predictable. Most couples need to determine child custody, division of their property and bank accounts when they get divorced. However, if you have animals when you file for divorce, you will often need to discuss pet custody as well.

This can be an overlooked obstacle for divorcing couples, but it is one that can be very complicated to sort out. There are often a lot of emotions tied to family pets, so determining who gets primary or sole custody of these pets can be more tumultuous than expected.

How is pet custody typically determined?

Under the law, a pet is treated the same as any other material item in the home. In Texas, child custody laws do not apply to pets. A pet is personal property.

As you go through your divorce proceedings, the pet in dispute becomes part of the divorce order issued by the court. While some divorcing couples are able to amicably determine who gets custody of the pet, or pets, on their own, if the court is deciding who gets ownership, the court will step in and use their own methods to determine custody.

The court will look at a variety of factors when they determine who will keep the pet in question. Different pets may be divided differently, so don’t assume that one party will get ownership of every pet in question.

The courts may look at a variety of factors when determining pet custody. This includes:

  • Who purchased the pet.
  • Was the pet received as a gift.
  • Who takes care of the pet.
  • Who is more capable of meeting the pet’s daily needs.
  • Who has a work/travel schedule that is more accommodating to the pet.

Of course, the best thing you can do to make sure that your pet’s best interest is being kept at the forefront of this situation, is to hire a family law attorney. The right attorney will help navigate this difficult territory and help you and your former partner come to an agreeable solution that works for everyone involved. If both parties are willing to consent, you may also be able to establish a visitation schedule so that both individuals can spend time with the animal in question.

If you have legal questions about pet custody in your divorce, or any other questions about your divorce proceedings, contact the Denton family law experts at Navarrette | Bowen, P.C. We are here to help answer all of the legal questions you have surrounding this difficult time.

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Navarrette | Bowen, P.C. | Family Law Attorneys | Denton, TX