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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35219
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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For the past year me and my ex partner have been sharing

Customer Question

For the past year me and my ex partner have been sharing custody of the dog I had bought us as a family pet when we were together. It wasn't the nicest break up but as my ex partner loved the dog as much as I do and the dog liked spending time with him we agreed to try and stay amicable for the dogs sake and he would pick him up on his days off and take him for 1 to 3 days at a time every week depending on his schedule and then bring him back. My mum looks after the dog a lot as me and my ex partner have full time jobs and she has 2 dogs of her own he has a bond with so until recently I'd say between me and my mum we had him 75% of the time and my ex partner had him 25% of the time. This arrangement wasn't without its problems as there were times for example when we'd argue because we couldn't agree on how long he should take him for etc and he'd sometimes just turn up to take the dog with only 20 mins notice. Things have now taken a turn for the worse between us and it has become clear we cannot be amicable anymore. I have had to stop him from having access to the dog because of a situation where he wouldn't bring the dog back because of some money he thought I owed him, I was basically in a position where I was being blackmailed. Either pay him the money he thought he was owed or he wouldn't bring the dog back, I ended up paying him what he requested just to get the dog back in my possession. Regardless of our issues I do not actually want to stop him from having access to the dog I just don't trust that he's going to bring him back. My question is is there such a thing as a dog custody agreement we could both mutually agree on and both sign that would be legally binding where both parties agree to who has him when, if the other party doesn't adhere to the terms agreed in the contract then they would be legally enforceable. I don't think he'd let the dog go without a fight and don't want to risk him from getting stolen from me as I don't think the police would get involved if that were the case due to it being a civil matter nor do I want the stress of a full custody battle for the dog. I truely believe the dog is better off in mine and my mums care for the majority of the time but don't want to deny him from seeing the dog again. Please can I have some advice.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

Can you prove that you purchased the dog?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I can, I have a receipt from the breeder, the dog is microchipped in my name and my sole name is ***** ***** kc papers. But I am lead to believe this is not enough proof to claim ownership of the dog. Should I fight my ex partner for sole custody of the dog he said he would argue that the dog was bought for him as a gift. I did buy the dog as a suprise just before the Xmas holidays however the dog was always intended to be for the both of us not as a gift from me to him.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Are you able to help with my answer the the question?
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

My apologies for the delay

I am afraid that however ,ugh we may love our animals legally they are simply possessions.

That being the case the court will treat the dog just as if it was an expensive item which was being argued over

The fact that it is your name and not his on the microchip documentation and the Kennel Club records mean that it r ex - otherwise the documentation would be in his name.

The dog is yours and if your ex takes him you can report it as theft = which is a criminal and not a civil matter

You do not have to agree to any contact either

I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Re the original question, maybe I'm being too nice but should I decide to let him have access is there any way of getting something legally drawn up to cover myself in the event that he one day could decide not to bring him back? I know in the US you can get something drawn up called a pet custody agreement but not sure if this applies here in the UK?
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

No I am afraid there is no UK equivalent

However you can draw up your own letter in which your ex acknowledges that the dog is your property and that he has to return him at the end of each agreed visit.

This will make it easier for you to show that he has been stolen if the dog is not returned

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Can I get this drawn up properly through a solicitor? As opposed to us writing this down ourselves? Should he take the dog I don't want to have to go through court to prove ownership as this is going to take time and be costly. Plus he could deny that he signed the paperwork if it isn't signed in the presence of a solicitor. Just wondering if this was signed through a solicitor could the police seize the dog from him straight away if I reported for theft?
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

Getting a solicitor to draw it up will make it no more legal or enforceable than a letter that you have done yourself.

You already have all the evidence that you need that the dog is yours - this is just an extra piece of paper - which you could get someone else to witness if you wish,

Expert:  Clare replied 7 months ago.