When most people think about custody arguments and custody orders in divorce, they’re talking about children. However, to many people, their pets are part of their family, and parting with them during a separation can be emotional. If you have a pet and are going through the divorce, here is what you need to know about who will get custody: you or your spouse.

Custody of Pets in Divorce: Pets are Property

Even if you feel as though Fido is like your child, the Texas court system does not. Instead, the courts will only consider your pet as property, and, therefore, your pet will be up for “equitable division,” not custody.

Because your pet is considered property, the community property laws in Texas apply. If you or your partner got your pet before getting married, then that person will have the legal right to the pet. However, if your pet was obtained during the course of your marriage, then you both have an equal right to it.

When a Pet is Valuable

Some pets are more expensive than others. For example, purebred show dogs or horses may be worth a large sum of money. As such, a judge may consider the animal a valuable piece of property that should be sold, and the profits from the sale should be divided between each partner.

If you and your ex can mutually agree as to how to divide your property (and who gets the pets) prior to taking the divorce before a judge then you will not have to sell it. Julie Johnson offers collaborative divorce services to aid divorcing couples with issues such as this. 

Working Out Pet Custody Through Mediation

Because the ruling of a judge may not be ideal for either party, it is advised that you and your spouse attempt to work out an agreed upon arrangement for the pet amongst yourselves.

Some other things to consider when deciding on pet custody in a divorce.

  • Shared custody
  • Allow the pet to remain in the same home where it currently resides (of particular note for horse owners)
  • Allow the pet to live with any young children in the marriage who have become accustomed to the pet.


Whatever you decide, making a decision outside of the courtroom is often the best bet.

Let a Texas Divorce Lawyer Guide You Through Your Pet’s Custody Proceedings

To help you and your former spouse work out an arrangement that works best for your and your furry friend, you need an attorney. At The Texas Divorce Lawyer, Law Office of Julie Johnson, PLLC, we can help you get custody of your pet.

If you’re going through a divorce and need help understanding custody, asset division, or anything else, call us at 214-265-7630 or use our easy online contact form.