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Dealing with dogs as part of the property division process

For most people, a dog is more like a family member than a pet. When a couple divorces, having to decide who the dog will live with is sometimes a huge area of contention. Our readers in Texas might find it interesting, and possibly appalling, to know that dogs and pets are considered property for the purpose of property division during a divorce. With that in mind, it is vital to take certain aspects of your pet’s life into consideration if you are facing a divorce.

As tempting as it is to just fight about who gets the dog, you have to stop a few minutes and think about what is best for the dog. If your dog doesn’t cope well with change, forcing the dog to move to a new home might not work. That could stress be devastating to the dog’s health.

Another consideration is how much time you will have to spend with the dog. If you work long hours but your ex doesn’t, it could best that the dog stays with your ex. If the situation was reversed, you might be the best option.

Finally, think about the children. If your children are attached to the dog, it would make sense that the dog should stay with the children. In some cases, that might mean that both you and your ex could spend time with the dog if the dog travels with the children. Not having to part with a beloved pet during a stressful divorce will likely be the best option for the children.

When you are working through the property division process of the divorce, looking at the situation from the outside in might help you decide what you want to fight for and what you will let go. Additionally, learning all you can about property division laws in Texas can help you know your rights.

Source: PetMD, “Who Gets the Dog in the Divorce?” Nov. 26, 2014

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