Thank you, Sharon.
In Florida, equine law primary concerns liability of owner for injury. FL ST § 773.01 - 773.06
. Ergo, this falls under common contract
As such, first of all understand the following:
1) Both written and verbal agreements are binding. However, while written agreements are self-evident by the contract, verbal agreements are much harder to prove;
2) In any partnership, each partner owes the other partners certain duties - see here
As such, someone in your situation has two options:
1) WHOLLY DENY THAT DIANE even has any claim to the horse unless she can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that there is such an agreement. As such, you can warn her that you would call the authorities if she attempts to trespass and take the horse, because until/unless the court states otherwise, YOU and MICHAEL are the only rightful owners to the horse because only your names are XXXXX XXXXX paperwork. The onus would then be up to her to file in Court, seeking declaratory relief that she is a partner and has interest, and she'd have to prove this by a preponderance of the evidence.
2) ADMIT that she has a partnership interest, but even then, demand that she fulfill her partnership duty under what is listed in the link, which includes paying a fair amount of costs for the care of the horse (unless there is an agreement that she should pay a certain amount specifically). If she does not, she may be liable for breach of that partnership under breach of fiduciary duty
. The elements of a cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty are: (1) the existence of a fiduciary duty; (2) the breach of that duty; and (3) damage proximately caused by that breach. Moiser v. Southern California Physicians Ins. Exchange, 74 Cal. Rptr. 2d 550 - Cal: Court of Appeal, 2nd Appellate Dist., 4th Div. 1998
A letter stating just this may have her back off and/or begin making payments. Let me know if you need such a sample letter.
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