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How can I get my dog back from my Ex?

Q:

I bought a dog on 9/10/06 when I was with my ex. She's tried to say he was a gift in front of other people but he never was and I tell them that when she tries to pull that. I have the receipt that I purchased him and at the time was paying all vet bills. Later, my now ex started sharing some bills later on. I pay for his state license tags, we were sharing the vet bills and I buy his frontline. She slowly tried to cut me out of paying for his vet bills and I have proof of her doing so. Both our names are on the ownership papers but only reason I included her when I bought him is so if anything happened she could take him to vet also. We are no longer together and we share him. There hasn't been any problems and now she just won't give him back or let me see him. What can I do to get him back? I've always been there for him and always came to take him for a few days at a time. I've made all the effort to see him and now she's cutting me out. She married an Attorney and tells me often there's nothing i can do about it. How can I get him back? He means everything to me and we spent quality time together going hiking, camping, fishing, swimming.... He went everywhere with me. I miss him very much and I'm heartbroken.


A:

If you cannot reach an amicable agreement with your ex regarding custody of the animal, I suggest that you consult with an attorney in your area about the possibility of a lawsuit for the return of the animal. While animals are generally considered property under the law, some courts have recognized that the best interests of animals should be considered at least as one factor in determining custody. It can be very impractical for ex’s to share custody of an animal for the long term and since courts generally are not going to get involved in ensuring compliance with pet visitation arrangements, they often will not order split visitation. Courts will consider who purchased an animal but if a court believes an animal was gifted after purchase, the court would likely allow the person who received the animal as a gift to keep the animal. However, if a court considers that there was a shared arrangement after a couple split, that could impact the court’s determination about whether the animal was a gift and who ‘owns’ the animal. There is often no easy answer. Mediation can sometimes help resolve these situations if both parties are willing to give it a try.
 


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott

 

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