As a part of your divorce, one of the things you will need to determine is how to divide your assets. One of the important assets you may not have thought about in the past, because it’s a living creature, is your pet.
Whether you have a dog, cat or goldfish, you need to be aware that Texas law views your pet as property. That means that you won’t be expected to work out a custody arrangement, for example, but instead decide who will get the pet.
Depending on the kind of pet you have, you know that it has its own preferences and that it has to be cared for adequately. That makes this an unusual issue, because you can’t simply divide your pet in the way you would divide furniture or other belongings.
What’s the best way to handle a pet in divorce?
One of the best ways to handle the decision on what to do with your pet is to look at both of your circumstances and determine who would be better able to care for your pet. If either of you are capable, another thing to look into is who wants the pet. You might also ask who was gifted the pet from the other spouse. If the pet was a gift, then it should usually go with the recipient.
Since some kinds of pets do have personalities and preferences, those aspects could play a role in who takes care of the pet as well. For instance, if you have a dog that is disrespectful to you but that loves your spouse, it may make sense for your spouse to take care of that pet in the future.
Do you have to assign your pet a value during your divorce?
Since a pet is property, you do need to determine the value of the pet for the purposes of property division negotiations. You can certainly ask for the value of the pet in other property if your spouse gets the pet, for example, so you can keep things fair and reasonable as you continue dividing your belongings.