By listening to your former partner's concerns, you may be able to find a solution that makes both of you happy and puts your pet in as good a position as it was before the breakup. For example, suppose your former partner is concerned you won't have time to take the dog for a walk during the day because you have a minute commute to work and are gone all day.
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In that situation, you may be able to work out an arrangement in which you allow your former partner to come over during the day to walk the dog. In exchange, you could pay them a small amount which could potentially save you from having to hire a stranger to walk your dog. Put any agreement in writing.
When you sit down and discuss the situation rationally, hopefully you and your former partner are able to come to an agreement regarding custody of your pet. If you do, draw up a written agreement that both of you can sign. Nor do you need to hire a lawyer or draft a complex contract with lots of legalese.
A simple agreement that outlines what you've decided is fine.
Include everything you've discussed about your pet's care. Both of you should sign it, then make sure your former partner gets a copy of the signed agreement.
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To avoid any problems later, grab someone to witness the signatures, or take a photo on your phone of each of you signing the agreement. Method 2.
Locate a community mediation center. Most towns and cities have community mediation clinics that offer mediation services for common disputes that people have, including pet custody issues. Particularly if you live in a larger city, you may find several different service centers. Look at their websites or call for more information to find the one you like the best. You also may be able to get a recommendation by calling a local animal law attorney.
They may have a particular mediation clinic that they prefer. Most community clinics are relatively affordable. You can expect a single mediation session to cost a few hundred dollars, although many have sliding-fee scales to assist lower-income individuals. Discuss mediation with your former partner. Since mediation is a voluntary process, you can't force your former partner to participate if they aren't interested. However, you can tell them about it and do your best to convince them it's the easiest way to resolve the dispute. Emphasize to your former partner that with mediation, a neutral third-party will work with the two of you to emphasize a mutually agreeable solution.
They will not pressure you to come to an agreement, and if you don't reach an agreement you can walk away. Another benefit of mediation is that any agreement you reach is confidential. This may be helpful if your former partner is concerned about how it will look to be arguing about pet custody in a public forum such as a courtroom. Prepare for your session.
If you already attempted to resolve the dispute with your former partner in person, you may have notes from that attempt that you can use to frame the points you want to bring up in mediation. It can help the mediator if you can figure out where there is significant disagreement, as opposed to more minor issues on which you could both find common ground.
Take some time to think about what your goals are for the medication. Perhaps your ideal outcome is that you have full custody of your pet and your former partner never has anything to do with either of you. Given the odds of that outcome happening are slim or you wouldn't be at this point , try to think of some areas on which you would be willing to compromise. You can present those ideas to the mediator. Arrive for your mediation appointment. On the date of your mediation appointment, try to get there at least 10 minutes early so you have time to get to the right place and get settled before the session actually starts.
However, try to dress neatly and conservatively. You want the mediator to have a good impression of you.
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Bring with you any notes or other materials you want to use in your negotiation. You also may want to bring a picture of your pet, so you can look at it and focus on that during negotiations. Typically you'll be directed to a private room, although you may have to wait in a waiting room. If your former partner is not there yet, you may meet your mediator, but don't expect to engage them in conversation.
Your mediator usually will keep conversation to a minimum so they can remain neutral and assist both of you in finding a mutually agreeable solution to your problem. Give opening statements. Once you and your former partner have arrived, the mediator typically will provide a brief introduction and explain the basic procedure. Then they may ask each of you to give a brief opening statement.
Nor should it include a single conclusory statement like "I want full custody of my pet. Come up with two or three points in your favor that you want to emphasize. For example, you might say "I believe I am entitled to full custody of the dog because I brought him home from the pound, named him, and feed him every day. I have taken him to the vet regularly and his registration is in my name. If you're short on such points, you may be able to point to the unique bond you share with your pet.
For example, you might note that your cat sleeps with you every night and comes running to the door when you come home from work. Work with the mediator. After the initial part of the mediation has concluded, the mediator typically will have you and your former partner move to separate rooms so the real work of mediation can begin.
If you're able to find common ground, it sews the seeds for continued agreement and compromise — even if the issues you're able to agree on are fairly minor points. Once you've separated, the mediator will move back and forth between you, discussing the situation and trying to find room for compromise.
Sign a written agreement. If you and your former partner are able to reach an agreement through mediation, the mediator typically will write up an agreement for you both to sign. Read it over carefully and make sure it reflects everything you've discussed. For example, your former partner may be willing to let you have custody of your dog if you agree to take him to his favorite park at least once a week. Method 3. Identify the appropriate court. If you're thinking about suing your former partner for custody of your pet, you need to first figure out what court has jurisdiction over both your former partner and your dispute.
If you were not married, however, you'll have to file a lawsuit on your own. In most cases, small claims courts are equipped to handle a pet custody issue. However, keep in mind that small claims courts only award monetary damages. If you file a lawsuit in small claims, you run the risk of winning your case but being awarded the monetary value of your pet — rather than the pet itself. Your county court typically also has jurisdiction over these sorts of claims, and can order your former partner to give your pet back to you if they currently have possession of the animal.
Consult an attorney.
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If you intend to pursue custody of your pet in the courts, you'll have the best chance of success if you have an experienced animal law attorney on your side. Even if you have a family law attorney for your divorce, an animal law attorney will understand more about the ins and outs of animal law in your state. It may be difficult to find an attorney who specializes solely in animal law unless you live in or near a fairly big city. However, because animal law is relatively new and is rapidly changing, it's important to find someone who has experience litigating cases similar to yours.
Your local humane society or other nonprofit groups dedicated to animal rights may be able to connect you with an attorney who can help you. File your claim for pet custody. After consulting an attorney, if you want to sue your former partner for pet custody, you should do so as soon as possible.
You can initiate a lawsuit by filing a complaint with the clerk of the court you've chosen to hear your case. The complaint lists factual allegations which you believe, if proven, entitle you to custody of your pet. Keep in mind that this is a legal argument, so you must have facts that tend to indicate you are the rightful owner of the animal. When you file your lawsuit, you'll have to pay a filing fee — typically amounting to several hundred dollars. If you can't afford this fee, ask to apply for a fee waiver. If your income and assets are below the court's threshold, your court costs will be waived.
Take your complaint forms to the clerk's office along with at least two copies. The clerk will stamp all of them "filed" with the date, and assign a date for the next time you have to appear in court. They will then give your copies back to you. Have your former partner served. One of the two copies of your court documents is for your own records. The other copy must be delivered to your former partner using the correct legal service of process.
You might choose a trusted friend or relative. After service is completed they must sign a proof of service form for you to file with the court. You also can hire a sheriff's deputy to hand-deliver the court documents to your former partner, or mail the documents using certified mail with return receipt requested. Wait for any response from your former partner. When your former partner receives your court documents, they have a limited period of time — typically only a couple of weeks — to file a written response to your lawsuit.
However, you still must show up on the date your hearing is scheduled. If your former partner does file a written response, it will be served on you using a process similar to that which you used to serve your former partner. It also is likely that your former partner will contact you seeking to come to an agreement rather than go through a trial.
The other option is that your former partner will decide to fight you every step of the way, perhaps even filing a motion to dismiss arguing that you have stated no legal claim to ownership of your pet. Gather evidence to support your claim. Nothing is going to get settled in mediation so it is a waste of time and money. Can we not just have a quick one issue hearing with a judge over the pet and be done with it? Or can the divorce be granted and we fight over the pet on another day? I want out of this marriage but I want my pet too. Is it theoretically possible to have a one issue hearing with a judge over your pet?
Will it happen? That depends on whether the judge will hold a hearing before mediation.
It also depends on whether you and your spouse will actually agree to everything else if the pet issue is still up for grabs. Many times one issue can derail an entire settlement. Can your divorce be granted without settling the pet issue, and can you fight over that another day? Again, theoretically, yes. To get answers to what the judge in your case is likely to do, you need to ask your lawyer.
My husband and I are separated. He was recently deported and is not allowed back in the US. The dogs were left at his house who he shared with the roommate. The roommate is refusing to return the dogs. I was asked to pickup the boys but all the paperwork on them is at the house in the roommates possession.
What can I do to get my dogs back? Your best bet is to talk to a Texas lawyer someone in the area of the house. I bought my dog 4 years ago, had her for about a year when I decided to switch jobs and move 40 min away. That became the norm for 4 yrs where he had her most of the time during the week and I took her on weekends when I could. If you really want your dog back I suppose you could go to a lawyer in your area and see what your options are.
My card paid for the dog however my boyfriend at the time jumped to put his name on the papers.
I have evidence that I paid for it and i have a. Will i have the upper hand? I purchased my dog before I was married, we have only been married 4 months before he left, he was cheating for 6 months, I paid for the dog and all the vet bills, is there anyway I can keep the dog? I purchased my dog a year before we were married. I live in nc.
We married after I purchased him. So that means community property does not apply right? North Carolina is not a community property state. It sounds like you have a strong case to argue that the dog is yours. But, to know what the law in your state says, and whether a judge would consider the dog to be yours or not, you need to check with an attorney in your state. One of the cats was mine before we were married. Can he legally keep both the dog and the kitten that are both under his name? And is there a way to transfer ownership? Everything depends on what you agree to do in your divorce.
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Luckily, the law is finally starting to change. The New Pet Custody Laws Even though the law has traditionally held that pets are property, some judges are starting to disagree. Illinois recently followed suit. You can share. Any evidence you can find that you were the one who took your pet to training classes, puppy play time, etc. But if you rent an apartment, you may need to prove that your lease allows pets.