What to do if my ex-husband gave me a dog as a gift when we were married and now that our divorce is final he now wants to sue me for custody?

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What to do if my ex-husband gave me a dog as a gift when we were married and now that our divorce is final he now wants to sue me for custody?

I let him have temporary custody on and off to be a nice person. However, since this last time he gave me the runaround on getting her back. There is nothing written in our divorce about her. Can he do this? What is my legal rights?

Asked on August 6, 2012 under Family Law, California

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First of all, read this link where I have addressed some of these issues before:

https://norrislaw.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/who-gets-the-family-dog-upon-divorce-dogs-are-chairs/

Dogs are property.  There are not custody arrangements for dogs in CA according to the courts.  If you sued, you would have to sue for conversion (stealing) in a civil action.  Technically the dog was a gift, which would make it YOUR separate property, not community property.  Gifts are one of the exceptions to community property rules.  So, you can tell your husband that since the dog was a gift, it is yours and you plan to sue him to get the dog back if he doesn't give you the dog.

If he doesn't give you back the dog, then sue in small claims court or go to a local attorney for help.

Best of luck.


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