Anyone who has a family pet is understandably worried about what will happen to it after a divorce. In some situations where one spouse has become attached to the animal and is the primary caregiver, the other spouse may be happy to just relinquish the pet completely. But it’s usually the case that both spouses want at least some time with the family pet after divorcing or separating.
Unfortunately, custody of a pet can become another flashpoint in divorce. In these situations, you may need to create a custody and visitation arrangement or seek a custody and visitation determination from a judge.
Did You Bring Your Pet Into Your Relationship?
In most situations, Texas law treats pets as property. As such, they are subject to the property division rules that apply to any other property acquired before or during a marriage. If you owned your pet prior to your marriage, it’s highly likely that the judge would award full custody to you.
Did You Get Your Pet During Your Marriage?
If you acquired your pet during your marriage and can’t agree on who it will live with, you will need to figure out how to share your pet. Just like you must do with everything else you accumulated during your marriage, you must divide pet visitation and custody between yourself and your spouse, if your spouse insists on it.
If you also have children, you should take their feelings about your family’s pet into account. It’s important to avoid interrupting their routines with the pets as much as possible. Often, children need their pet relationships more than ever when their parents seek to divorce.
Why Sharing a Pet Benefits Everyone in Your Family
The most important consideration during a divorce is everyone’s well-being. It is in everyone’s best interest to preserve the bonds that every family member has with the family pet.
Keeping these relationships as normal as possible removes one less stressful decision that you and your spouse must make. In fact, family members who work out a visitation schedule for their pets are calmer while going through the trauma of a divorce. Pets can be soothing and help you calm down because they can help take your mind off the situation. They also help you get outside to exercise and help prevent depression.
If Your Divorce Involves a Family Pet, We Can Help
You deserve to have your life and your children’s lives remain as normal as possible after you divorce, which often means finding ways to keep connections with your family pet. If you would like to discuss how to share custody of your pet after a divorce, contact us for help