Some families just do not feel complete without a four-legged friend. These pets are often regarded more as family members than animals, forming deep bonds with owners. While there is perhaps nothing quite like the experience of developing that unique bond, it poses a pretty big problem during divorce. Namely, who gets the dog?
Texas state law considers any pet, whether it be a furry mammal or slithering reptile, as nothing more than property. This means that divorcing couples will address what happens with their pets during property division. Some couples are able to work out their own arrangements, such as deciding to keep the pet with the parent who has primary custody when children are involved. Others choose to create an agreement for pet custody in which they share both time and expenses.
But divorce is an emotionally charged process, and a lot of couples simply cannot decide what should happen with their pets. Couples in this situation must go to court, where family law judges will make the final decisions. Since judges generally do not consider anything like pet custody, they are primarily focused on who gets to keep the pet. Information like who first bought the pet, covered expenses and acted as the main caretaker are all important factors.
While couples in Texas generally do not get married with expectations of later filing for divorce, there are a lot of marriages that simply do not last. There is no harm in being prepared for all possibilities. This is why pet owners should think about signing pet prenups. These are prenuptial agreements that address expectations both during marriage as well as ownership in the event of a divorce.