What are my ex-wife’s rights to our dogs?

Dog A was a gift to her given prior to our marriage, and she paid for Dog B as well; then we got married, and when we divorced the dogs were not named anywhere in the papers. She left for 9 months with 1 brief return and has not contributed in any way to their care. I have paid for food, kept shots current, and take good care of them. We divorced during her absence. She has a condo with no yard and no employment. She likely has more liquid assets than me. I have a fenced yard and a job, as well as a support system in place.

Asked on September 11, 2010 under Family Law, Oregon

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Someone will have to decide if the dogs are marital property or joint property and divide them accordingly.  Gifts given prior to marriage are generally the property of the recipient.  So I am going to lien on the side of Dog A being separate property of your ex-wife.  Dog B appears to be marital property.  You can not split the asset here so you are going to have to come to a decision yourselves as to how you are going to "distribute" the asset.  Do you have any other assets that can be bargained for the dog?  Do you want to pay her half the value of the dob (try and negotiate given the amount that you have out in in care over the last 9 months)?  Do you want to say that she abandoned her responsibilities toward both dogs and that you should have them (I am unsure that this will fly)?  Seek help in your area.  Good luck.


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