Possible future dog ownership dispute

I bought a dog for myself and my girlfriend to share. We are breaking up now. I am the one who legally bough the dog, paid for him, legally own him, registered him in my name across nearly all platforms, take care of him on a daily basis, pay for at least half of his bills, love him, etc. So I am the one who owns him and has the right to him as personal property then correct? Should I have anything to worry about? IS there anything else I can do to strengthen my ownership claim to him?

Asked over 5 years ago in Iowa city, Iowa
Categories: Alternate Dispute Resolution  Small Claims  Animals  General Legal Questions  Family

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James R Coleman

Answer by James R Coleman

VerifiedWorldwide lawyer

Is she claiming the dog is hers?  That it was a gift (a common claim in such cases)?  It is unclear what the law in Iowa is such cases.

If it comes down to a dispute before a judge, the costs will be substantial even for the "winner".  If the two of you are more concerned about the welfare of the dog than about who "owns" the dog, maybe you can work something out, a shared custody arrangement with the dog being with one of you some of the time and the other some of the time.  Sometimes local bar associations have people who will help mediate such disputes but even that is not cheap. 

If you do work out an arrangement, you will need to decide on such things as the cost of food, vet bills, and other decisions.  What if she does not pay her part of the bills?  What then?  What if she does not return the dog after a visit?

Whatever you do, make sure any settlement is in writing, preferably notarized.

Posted over 5 years ago

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice to you. Legal advice pertaining to your particular situation can only be provided by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all pertinent background information necessary to give you a formal legal opinion. For formal legal advice, hire a lawyer (many give a free first consultation). Contact James R Coleman, or search the Lawyer Directory.

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