If you are going through a divorce – contested or uncontested –
you might have already settled matters relating to your shared estate
and assets, such as your home, your business, your savings, etc. You could
have also come to custody agreements regarding the children you share
together. But what happens to Puffball and Fido? No one really talks about
family pets in terms of divorce, despite them being welcome members of
Actually, not so fast. In Texas State, animals are not considered family
members, no matter how friendly they are and regardless of their breed
or species. Instead, they are seen as property in a divorce. As with all
other forms of property, your animals will be given a price tag and evaluated
against everything else you or your spouse is winning through the divorce;
this is especially true if you have a pedigree animal, such as a purebred
canine or race horse.
One of the only ways you can be certain that you will keep your pet after
your divorce is if you can prove it is your separate property, or something
you acquired before the marriage. See if you can dig up adoption or purchase
records that might be able to help you hold onto your loyal companion.
Can I Visit My Pets If My Spouse Wins Them in the Divorce?
Judges will not be able to assign any form of visitation rights regarding
your pets in a divorce as they are not technically in anyone’s custody.
They court will also be unable to mandate that your ex-spouse pay any
sort of support to help care for the animal, even if it is common knowledge
that its upkeep can be quite expensive. As a last resort, if no agreement
can be made, your pet can actually be sold in order for you and your spouse
to split the profits.
If all of this seems a little heartbreaking, there is hope for you and
Fido to stick together. With the help of our Fort Worth divorce attorney
from Favila Terry Law, PLLC, we may be able to argue that you deserve ownership
of the animal. Even though pets are technically
not family members, judges are free to make their decisions as if they were,
meaning they should order what will ultimately be best for the animal.
For example, you could present veterinarian records that show that you
have cared for the pet for the majority of its life.
No matter the complexities of your divorce case, we can help you build
a case that honors your and your pets’ best interests. At our law
firm, we understand that pets can feel as close as family. Call
817.757.4188 today to
request your consultation with our compassionate legal team.