Pets In A Divorce

How Are Pets Handled During A Texas Divorce?

A common question is how courts handle pets in a divorce?  A common misconception is that pets are handled like children.  Most folks assume that a possession schedule is entered and the parties share the pet.  However, this is not how pets are addressed in a Texas divorce.  In Texas, pets are considered personal property.  pets in a divorce

Pets Are Property

Since Texas is a community property state, the pet would be presumed as community property.  If the pet was acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage, it would be that spouse’s separate property to keep.  Also, if the pet was acquired as a gift during the marriage, the spouse receiving the gifted pet would keep it as separate property.  If the pet is not separate property, then things become a bit sticky.


There are several options to “dividing” a pet in a Texas divorce.  First, the parties can try to resolve their differences and share the dog by agreement.  This can only be done by an agreement as a Texas court does not have the authority to require parties to share property after a divorce.

Second, the parties can negotiate over who will keep the pet in a divorce.  Since a pet is likely a point of emotional attachment, the party giving up the pet will have a lot of bargaining power to reach agreements not otherwise likely.  And, if they are giving up a close companion, that is a fair compromise.

Finally, if no agreement can be reached, then a Texas divorce court has jurisdiction to make the final decision.  If there are children involved who are attached to the pet, and a court is the final decision-maker, the likely result is easily foreseeable.

If you have a question about your pets in a divorce, please contact us at 214-550-1122 to discuss your options.  We have over 21 years of experience helping people resolve their legal troubles.