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Property division includes pets in Texas, co-owning possible

When you think of property division during a divorce, you probably think of items like furniture or vehicles. You probably don't think about your pets, but that is exactly what the courts consider pets. Horses, cats, dogs, small animals and other pets are all included in the property division proceedings in Texas. Because of this, it is important for you to understand what this means.

In most cases, pets will be awarded to one party. This means that you might get the dog and your spouse might get the fish. It might be possible for the pets to be co-owned, which might involve the court making provisions for the pet's medical care, boarding and food. Larger pets, such as horses, might benefit from this type of arrangement.

When children are involved in the divorce, there might be arrangements made in the property division order so the pets can go from house to house with the children. This might actually help the child to cope with the divorce and new living arrangements.

What some people don't think about when it comes to pets is how often pets are subjected to domestic violence situations. Fortunately, people in Texas who are being abused can now make sure the pets are taken care of and safe. Pets can be included in protective orders, which means the abuser can't have access to the pet. This can still pose a problem, however, because some domestic violence shelters won't allow pets to come into the shelter.

Knowing that the court can decide who gets to keep the pets might help you to come up with an agreement with your ex about them. Especially when there are children who are attached to the pet, it might be beneficial to consider co-owning the pets.

Source:  Lantana Living, "Divorce? Who gets the pets?!" Jul. 18, 2014

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