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Do you get to keep your furry friend in the divorce? 

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2024 | Property Division

Many families think it is obvious who should keep their dog or cat in a divorce. Some people would think that the person who cares for the pet more and provides for their basic needs would keep their pet. Others would believe that the person who bought the pet would keep them. However, Texas laws make it clear who would receive a pet in a divorce.

If you are going through a divorce and have to figure out if you get to keep your furry friend, then you may need to read the following:

Texas property laws and pet ownership

Texas law considers pets property,  similar to a fridge, necklaces, vehicles or chairs in a divorce. As such, that subjects dogs and cats to property division laws. What this means for families is that they must look at how property is divided in Texas to determine who gets to keep the pet. 

Texas is a community property state, and community property is anything acquired during a marriage. If the pet was acquired before the marriage, it will likely be that spouse’s separate property. If the pet was acquired during the marriage, it will likely be marital property. The couple will have to negotiate for ownership the same way they would any other impossible-to-divide household item. The spouse who doesn’t get ownership would need to be compensated for the pet’s value in some way.

One way to avoid this kind of problem is to have a premarital or postnuptial agreement in place that defines exactly how custody of any pets will be handled in a split, but couples already going through a divorce don’t have this option.

Learning more about the property division process may help.