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Getting through a divorce with pets

For Texas couples who are going through a divorce, dealing with child custody may be extremely stressful. Similarly, going through a divorce in which animals are loved by one or both members of the couple can be challenging. While some people view animals as a part of the family, animals are still considered property under the law and are divided as such. While some judges will allow hearings to determine which member of the couple is most bonded to the animal and would serve as a better owner, it isn't always guaranteed that an animal will be assigned to the person who is most attached.

Many lawyers warn that it's wise to think ahead in terms of divorceand animals. Particularly, if a person goes into a marriage with an animal, he or she should get a prenuptial agreement specifying that, in the event of divorce, he or she leaves with that animal as well. This may also help prevent a situation in which people use animals as bargaining chips to get what they want out of a property settlement.

In extreme cases, people have resorted to animal abuse to spite the other member of the couple. In one case, a kitten was microwaved to death. In another instance, a woman who was ordered to give a bird to her husband threatened to kill it. The judge ordered that it be handed over unharmed.

A person facing this type of a situation may find it worthwhile to consult with a lawyer who understands the importance of an animal to an owner. The lawyer can assist in negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement that contains appropriate language regarding the pet.

Source: The Daily Beast, "Divorce Is Going to the Dogs, Literally", Keli Goff, June 20, 2014

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Attorney Bruce Turner is located in Dallas and represents people and businesses throughout DFW and the Metroplex, including Denton, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Farmers Branch, Irving, Las Colinas, Corinth, Highland Village, The Colony, Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Garland and Grapevine as well as Collin County, Denton County and Dallas County in Texas.

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