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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1420
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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I have a question (very similar to the ones I see online)

Customer Question

I have a question (very similar to the ones I see online) about what the main deciding factor is in dog ownership in break up situations. My ex and I broke up. Yes, he paid for Calvin at the adoption agency and his name is ***** ***** original paperwork. Without going into to much detail, I am the obvious caretaker of the dog...David is gone all dayfrom 8-5. I paid for his shots, he is licensed and microchiped under my name; that being said, David said that since he is listed on adoption papers, the dog is legally his. Is this true?
JA: OK. The Lawyer will need to help you with this.
Customer: okay thanks!
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: No, not yet
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: I don't think so...only that it would be easy to prove in a court of law that I was the better caretaker, but I would like to avoid court if possible. David (my ex) is using Calvin just to spite me. I have him right now and he is threatening to call the police if I don't give him back
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Hello. I’m a licensed attorney with 36 years’ experience. My practice is limited to family law and appeals, but I have many years’ experience with landlord-tenant issues, contract law, and other types of law. I also have written hundreds of legal articles. I look forward to helping you today.

Please note:This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an attorney on this site.

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This is all too familiar to me, as my own parents fought over the dog. Can you please tell me what state you're in? I can't see that on this side. Thanks!

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

I see you haven't viewed the question yet. If you give me your state and I'm not here, I will answer when I get back later this afternoon. I can give you general guidelines, however, so that should answer your question, because more and more courts are doing the same thing.

Fighting over the family dog is becoming common in divorce law. It is not necessarily true that the dog is his because his name is ***** ***** papers, and he needs to know that. Of course he is using the dog as a way of leverage and a way to get back at you. I've seen this done all too often, which is tragic.

These days, judges are more inclined to ask who is taking care of the dog! This is not an inanimate object --it's a dog, and I have two of them so I know how attached you can get to a dog.

You're the caretaker. I think your ex would even agree with that.

In deciding who should be awarded custody of a family pet, the court may consider such things as:

  • Which party takes care of the animal’s basic daily needs for such things as food, shelter, potty walks or litter box maintenance, exercise, grooming, and supervision?
  • Who takes the pet to the veterinarian?
  • In the case of a dog, which party insures he gets plenty of social interaction with other dogs and people, and sees to his training?
  • Who has the greatest ability to financially support the pet?

If you and your spouse or ex are splitting up and there is a pet involved, the judge may decide to put the animal’s best interests first, much as the judge would do for a child of the marriage.

You do have rights, and even though his name is ***** ***** adoption papers, he's done nothing to help take care of the dog. The dog probably relates better to you because the dog knows you're the caretaker.

You can let him know that if you go to court he will not win. Nothing is guaranteed of course, but you want to avoid court, so you have to stand your ground if you want to resolve this outside of court.

Tell him that a judge will give the dog to you because of the above factors. If this gets heated, you'll have to see a family lawyer about this. If you let me know where you are I can find family lawyers in your area, so I'd need the biggest city or town in your area and your state.

Does this answer your question? If you need more information, let me know as I’m happy to give it.

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Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Hi, just checking in to see if you still need help with your question and if my answer was helpful for you. Thanks!