Divorce: Handling Family Pets

For people who own pets, they serve as a major part of their lives. A lot of families in America consider their pets as their children and see them as a part of the family. Ownership of a pet usually brings a lot of perks to families, such as emotional support and companionship. Although, excessive tension can emerge in families if a couple decides to be separated and can’t identify who should own the family pets. With this in mind, we will find out how can pet custody be known and granted by the courts in divorce? 

Determining who can keep a pet after the separation can be done by coming up with an agreement beforehand and adding it to the postnuptial or prenuptial arrangements. Provided that the married couple didn’t do this, other things will be looked into y the court for them to identify which party is more liable to keep their family pet. Here are different important aspects that the courts would be based at: 

Personal and financial circumstance 

Some factors that determine who will be given pet ownership include fundamental things like personal accountability and finances. Even if the court sees pets as legitimate assets, they are also aware that they are living beings that need enough hydration, food, care, and other necessities. When one of the parents is financially having a hard time and can’t afford to take care of the pet, then the court will normally give pet ownership to the more affluent party.  

In the same way, when professional or personal instances, like working schedule, keep one of the parents to properly give sufficient care to the involved family pet, the court will surely award pet ownership with more resources and time to devote to the pet.  

Housing with kids 

For married couples with kids, pets usually become a companion for the children as well as one way to teach responsibility to young kids. When the couple separates and custody is provided to one of the parents, chances are the court will decide to keep the family pet at the house where the kids live in.  

Caretaking responsibilities  

Daily activities like caretaking the pets are among the most typical ways that pets bond with their owners. The person who feeds, bathes, walks, and spends time with the pet would most likely be the one that their pet will consider as their owner. There’s a possibility that they may be legitimate to the pet’s legal ownership.  


In several instances, when the pet already belongs to a specific individual before the marriage is done, then the pet will usually remain with that particular party even after the separation. Ownership may be known according to the registration papers or pet adoption. When the pet has parents’ joint custody or there are no registration papers, the courts will search at some factors.  

If you want assistance about this matter, you may contact family law specialist DFW right now and consult with them about your situation.