Pets are an integral part of families. While many may view pets as another member of the family, the legal system doesn’t see or treat them as such. So, what happens to pets after a divorce?
Pet Custody and Visitation Rights in Texas
Pets are legally viewed as property. There are no official laws that would allow for pet custody or visitation.
What Happens to Family Pets in a Divorce?
The court will not order or enforce pet custody (or visitation). Pets will be treated as property, and only one party will walk away with ownership.
Texas is a community property state. Thus, in a divorce, all property will be defined as community or separate property. Each spouse will keep their separate property, which is the property they obtained before the marriage. Community property—the property a couple obtained during their union (this can include family pets)—will be fairly split between the divorcing couple.
A couple can opt to include custody or visitation agreements within their divorce decree. As a couple, they will need to agree on and work out the pet custody and/or visitation details themselves.
To ensure you get your family pet after your divorce, you should consider a post-nuptial agreement that includes pet custody details. If you do not have a “postnup,” mediation and/or uncontested divorce may be the best option to ensure you retain ownership of your pet. If your pet is community property and you and your soon-to-be-ex cannot agree, then it will be up to a judge/court to decide.
Modifying Divorce Orders to Include Family Pets
If no details about pet custody were initially included in your divorce decree, you can modify your divorce agreement in some cases. However, property division orders are not often modified.
To protect your interests and your family pet, you should speak with a reliable attorney. Whether you are currently embroiled in a divorce or have recently been divorced, an attorney can properly advise you on your options.
Are you worried about who will retain pet custody after your divorce? The Law Office of Derek S. Ritchie, PLLC is dedicated to protecting our client’s interests and assets. We not only understand the legalities of property division but also know just how important pets are.
Let us fight for you. For help with your case, please contact our firm online or call (210) 775-2000.