If you do not ask for a dog in a divorce,afterthe divorce is final can you go to civil court and sue for possession?

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If you do not ask for a dog in a divorce,afterthe divorce is final can you go to civil court and sue for possession?

I have been separated from my husband for about 1 1/2 years but our divorce just became final last month. When I moved out, Itook my Yorkie with me. My ex originally had it in the divorce papers that he would get her. I refused to sign as long as that was in there because she was a gift to me. Now that the divorce is final, he is threatening to take me to civil court if I do not turn her over to him. He has had her AKC registration and her microchip registration changed to his name. Does he have a chance to get her?

Asked on June 8, 2011 under Family Law, Mississippi

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Really the issue should have been decided in the divorce agreement so as not to have to deal with it later on.  But what is done is done.  Be aware, though, that the court could still rely on the law as it relates to interspousal gifts to decide the issue. It is my understanding that gifts given during the marriage are generally considered to be separate property in Mississippi.  Your ex probably has the bill of sale for the dog and that is why he had the info changed on the chip.But the bill of sale does not mean that it was not a gift.  He is going to try and take you to court regardless and you should be prepared to prove your defense: gift given during marriage.  Witnesses to the event, a birthday card indicating the dog was a gift - whatever.  Good luck.


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