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Are pets classified as property in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2022 | Blog, Divorce

If you’re a Texas resident preparing to get a divorce, you’ll likely want to know what will happen to all your valuable belongings. If you and your soon-to-be-ex have pets together, here are some things you should know about who will care for the pets once your marriage has ended.

Pet custody or visitation rights in Texas

There are no official pet visitation or custody rights in Texas. Pets are classified as property. However, you and your ex can arrange to share “custody” of the family pet after divorce if you would like. Be sure to include the terms for caring for the pet in your divorce decree.

Are pets marital property?

According to Texas law, marital assets fall into two categories: community property and separate property. If a spouse owned property before getting married or inherited the property or received the property as a gift, even if the gift was from the other spouse, the property is considered “separate.” However, the property that either spouse acquires or earns during the marriage that doesn’t fit the previous descriptions is classified as community property.

In most cases, if the couple purchased the pet as a family during their marriage, the pet belongs to both spouses in the divorce, and they can make arrangements for visitation or custody. A couple’s property is divided during a divorce, and this includes determining ownership of the family pets.

Determining who will care for the pet

You and your ex can formulate an agreement concerning which home the pet will reside in. You can also arrange for mediation to decide who will take ownership of the pet. If you don’t come up with a formal agreement, a family law judge will decide which party will keep the pet. If one spouse purchased the pet before marriage, the pet will typically be assigned to the spouse who originally owned the pet.