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Pet Custody Recognized for the First Time in U.S.

For many animal lovers, getting divorced and deciding which spouse will take the pets can be a serious issue. In Texas, pets are treated more like property than like children who need custody arrangements.

However, Alaska recently enacted a pet custody law. It is the first of its kind in the nation.

The Alaska Pet Custody Law

The law instructs judges to consider various custody models when deciding what will happen to the pet. Under the new law, a judge could order joint custody of pets much the same way child custody can be ordered.

Animal law experts and animal activists see this law as a huge accomplishment. Under the old law in Alaska, pets were seen as property. The division of pets in a divorce proceeding was based on what was best for the human owner. Now the law requires that judges consider what is best for the animal.

Pet Custody Law in Texas

There is no law in Texas like the one in Alaska. In Texas, courts consider pets to be property. Because of this classification, it may be possible for you to use a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that would determine pet custody. These agreements cannot determine child custody issues but can determine issues of property.

If you are already in the divorce process, these nuptial agreements are not available to you. A judge deciding a pet custody issue will likely look at who provides the most care to the animal and who is best equipped to handle the animal. A court will not order pet visitation. If parties agree to visitation in writing, a court may enforce that agreement.

Contact a Sugar Land, TX Divorce Attorney

Each divorce presents its unique issues, and sometimes the law does not provide a clear solution. In cases such as these, a skilled divorce attorney will be able to make your best arguments to a judge or be able to determine who such issues play into a settlement negotiation. To schedule a case evaluation with a Texas divorce attorney, call the Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C. today at (832) 263-6770 or contact us online.

1https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/divorce

2https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2017/01/24/in-a-first-alaska-divorce-courts-will-now-treat-pets-more-like-children/?utm_term=.1c17f871cddd

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