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Gerald-Esquire, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3920
Experience:  30 years of experience
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My wife and I are going through a divorce she left a week

Customer Question

My wife and I are going through a divorce she left a week ago on her own will and gave me her key to the house. I changed the lock after she gave her key bc other people had one such as her parents. I also lost her key and needed a spare to give to the
dog sitter so I changed the lock. The other day we agreed for her to come at 9:00 to get stuff but she said I'll be there at 7:00. She took her parents key to try and get in when I wasn't home. I am the full owner of the house she is not on any documents or
contributes. She got pissed and called me I said I'm out but I'll come home. She came over with two police officers. I explained to them that we agreed on a time she broke it and got pissed that she couldn't get in. I'm not stopping her from getting her things
and they said they were there just to keep the peace. When it came time for her to leave she grabbed the dogs leash. I told the officer I have papers upstairs that show the dog is mine and I purchased it and a dog is property according to the law. He said
your going on vacation tomorrow so she takes the dog. I said you can't give my property away and I have made arrangements for a dog sitter to stay at the house. I didn't argue any did not argue any further as I had to do a lot to get ready to leave. What actions
can I take to get my dog back. She argues she pays for the vet bills and takes it to the vet only because she works from home. I never said she had to pay, she does on her own will. Can I take any action against the office for giving my dog away and now having
to possibly hire a lawyer to get it back? Should I call the police and ask to speak to the supervisor when I return to get the dog back?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Gerald-Esquire replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you have.

I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.

As a practical matter you really can't sue the police. They were wrong, no doubt about that, but the amount of legal difficulties to sue the government makes it financially impractical to sue the police unless the amounts at issue are very high (multiple thousands of dollars).

The question on how to proceed to get your dog back depends on whether there are any other issues, or property that will be disputed during the course of your divorce. If there are then, unfortunately, the dog too will become part of the marital property distributin settlement or award. You will in the course of filing for your divorce also file for property distribution.

If there are no other property issues in dispute at all, you may be able to sue your wife in Small Claims Court for the dog. The advantage is that is is less expensive and faster. BUT if the small claims court determines that the issue is part of the divorce/property dispute, they will dismiss your small claims complaint due to a lack of jurisdiction and direct you to raise it in the Divorce proceedings in the County Court of Common Pleas.

I am sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear. These matters can be infuriating, and no doubt she took the dog in large part to further hurt you. I sincerely ***** ***** get your dog back.

I want you to be comfortable and satisfied with my attempt to assist you. Please, if you have ANY follow up questions, feel free to ask. Please note that I am generally unavailable Friday evening through Sunday.

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Good luck,

Please note: Information given is not legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the reply. Just to clarify I purchased the dog before we were married and have documents that show I purchased it. So would this not be considered pre marital and not part of property division?
Expert:  Gerald-Esquire replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for the clarifying information and excellent follow up question. You should be able to get your dog back under the circumstances that you describe. As the dog is clearly separate property you should get it back.

BUT you need to know that Pennsylvania is not a community property state. It is an equitable distribution state. As to other property the court has broad discretion.

This article is helpful in explaining how that works in regard to the other property that may be in dispute.

I hope this additional information is helpful to you.

Kind regards,


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