Who gets the dog we a couple splits?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Who gets the dog we a couple splits?

The in-laws allowed us to have the family dog with us for the past 4-5 months. Well, now this dog feels like family and I can hardly bear the thought of my wife leaving and my being alone without even the dog, even. What do I do? What can I do?

Asked on January 22, 2019 under Family Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the dog belongs to your in-laws, it's their dog: they can decide who gets to keep it--including taking it back themselves. If they actually gave the two of you the dog, so that no you and your-soon-to-be-ex are the owners, there is no hard-and-fast rule as to who will get it in the divorce: the court will look to the facts and decide who has the better claim. That the dog had belonged to your wife's parents, however, will almost certainly give her a stronger claim.

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