Family Pet and Divorce: Family Lawyer

Many people value their pets much, yet divorce may be messy when it comes to pets. When there is a pet custody dispute during a divorce, it may make matters even more difficult and unpleasant for both parties. You and your spouse can argue about who gets to keep the family pet during a divorce, which could turn out badly for everyone involved. If the issue still remains by the time divorce comes around, it would be wise to talk about the issue with a Family Lawyer. Understanding how courts deal with pets in divorce proceedings will give you a clearer picture of how things will be handled and make adjusting to your new life much easier.

How do courts handle dogs?

In a divorce, family pets are not treated the same as children. This indicates that the court won’t grant animal visitation rights or pet custody. The law considers animals to be property. This implies that household pets will fall under the same heading as assets, estates, and property. Separate property and Community property are the two subcategories under which property is separated. According to Family Code Section 3.001, “separate property” is defined as “property or assets owned by one spouse before a marriage and gifted during the marriage.” According to Family Code Section 3.002, community property is acquired during the marriage. The judge will therefore have to determine whether the family pets are community or separate property based on the specifics. The judge will consider the dog’s past, including whether it was adopted or bought before or after the marriage. If the animal were acquired before the marriage, it would be considered separate property. Otherwise, the animal will be regarded as marital property. If a prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreement, cohabitation agreement, or division agreement specifically mentions who the pet would go to, that would be the sole exception to this rule. 

What other factors will be used to determine where the Family Pet goes?

The judge considers a number of issues while deciding where the family pet will go. Some of these considerations include who has been the primary caregiver, who spends the most time caring for the animal, whether one of the spouses has a history of mistreating or abusing animals, or whether there is a custody arrangement that allows the animal to live with a child. Based on the circumstance, the judge will place the pet according to what would be best in the pet’s interest.

What if my pet is a service animal?

If the animal in question is a service animal, the mental/physical limitations the dog depends on must be considered while dividing the marital estate. If your child has a service animal, the animal will belong to the spouse in charge of the child. The judge may prescribe visiting days for the animal to transfer between homes if the child and the pet have a codependent relationship.

What are possible solutions?

The emotional connection or worth a pet has with its owner is frequently ignored by the court when deciding on divorce settlements. Pets are not entirely covered by state law in the courts. If the couple wants to avoid having the matter settled by a judge, they must devise a living arrangement for the animals.

What can I do to prevent losing my dog during a divorce?

When deciding on divorce settlements, the court usually disregards the emotional bond or value a pet has with its owner. State law in the courts does not completely protect pets. The couple must devise a living arrangement for the animals if they wish to avoid having the dispute resolved by a judge.

If you are in need of a well-experienced family lawyer, you can contact Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC where they can resolve a wide range of family law areas.