Nowadays, Americans are forming stronger bonds with their pets than ever before. Many people refer to their pets as their ‘fur babies’ and treat them as part of the family. Historically, however, divorce courts have treated family pets no differently than they treat the family couch and other pieces of personal property. While many states have started to allow courts the authority to consider the best interests of the pet when deciding who gets the pet in the divorce, Texas still treats pets as property in the divorce.
Texas is a community property state
Generally, as a community property state, Texas courts will divide up all marital property equally between the divorcing spouses in the divorce. While many pieces of property acquired during the marriage can be easily divided during the property division process, splitting the family pet in two is obviously not an option.
In states that are using the “best interest” standard, courts can consider who is emotionally connected to the pet and who cares for the pet on a regular basis when deciding who gets to keep the pet in the divorce. However, since Texas does not allow for these considerations, courts must assign the pet a monetary value and will give the pet to one spouse, while the other spouse gets something else of similar value.
Cooperating with your ex may be the best option
Only you and your ex know the dynamics of your family and who had the closest relationship with the family pet. If possible, it may be better for you and your ex to agree on who gets the family pet without getting the courts involved. A family law attorney in your area may be able to help navigate these pet custody issues, as well as other common divorce issues.