Highly Experienced In Show Animal Matters

Who keeps the show dog after divorce?

While any animal can become a point of contention during divorce, show dogs are more than a typical pet. A show dog can cost you thousands of dollars and become a major focus of your life. Losing a show dog to your ex-spouse would be more than losing a companion; it would be losing a valuable asset. Do you know how Florida's courts would determine ownership?


How are show dogs classified under Florida law?

Dogs and other animals are classified as property. Therefore, they are subject to the same equitable division system as all other assets during a divorce settlement. Your dog and their earnings will probably be considered marital property and their future will be up for debate. To determine which spouse will keep the dog, the judge will evaluate a number of factors, including:

  • Who purchased the dog
  • Whether the dog was purchased before or during the marriage
  • Who fed, groomed and cared for the dog
  • Who regularly took the dog to the vet
  • Who travelled with the dog to shows
  • General degree of involvement

What can you expect?

If you are determined to retain your dog during the divorce settlement you should expect to give up other significant assets. As an equitable division state, the judge will determine a fair property division between spouses. If your dog is highly valued and can potentially bring in significant future assets, you will probably have to forfeit another significant asset to your ex-spouse.

Can you avoid an ownership dispute?

Forethought is the best way to avoid an ownership dispute. An experienced lawyer can help you write a thorough ownership contract that clearly details each person's ownership involvement and rights. You can also write into the contract other key details including who has a right to show winnings and breeding income.

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