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Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35566
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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Dog ownership question. I am post divorce (2016) and my son

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Dog ownership question.I am post divorce (2016) and my son and dog live with the ex-wife. There are no issues with seeing my son however the ex-wife keeps threatening to get ride of the dog and appears to be controlling behaviour towards me.Unfortunately I live alone and out at work for over 10 hours a day which is not suitable for looking after a dog.I have offered to rehome the dog with a family member should the ex wife decided she no longer wants him but she keeps him as our son wants him too.The dog is a Standard Dachshund and registered with the Kennel Club in my name.The ex wife and I both contributed £650 each to the dog and I paid for his food vets bills while married. I also invested time and money training the hound to find truffles and he is now recognised as an advanced truffle hound and has an entry at Kew Gardens by Dr Spooner for a British first fine.The ex wife has now making a claim that she covers the dogs vets bills and food therefore I have no claim over the Hound.What is my position with ownership and re homing my dog if required? Or have I somehow lost all ownership of my dog through divorce?Regards
***** *****nsdell

My name is ***** ***** I shall do my best to help you. I am reviewing your question now, and will respond further within a few minutes

Has there been a financial settlement within the divorce proceedings?

Who is registered as the owner at the Kennel Club?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Financial
All finances have been settled in regards ***** ***** divorce.Kennel Club
When we bought the dog six years ago the ex wife said I should be the registered name with the Kennel Club as he was my dog (as my son and I were the ones who wanted the dog). He is therefore registered in my name and I hold the documentation.Understanding
As a natural progression post divorce the dog stayed with the ex wife as she works from home and our son adores the Dachshund.Vet bills
I have since taken the dog to the vet and covered this cost myself however as a result of the ex wife taking the dog to the vet recently I agreed I would pay 50% of that and any future vets bill. We also have/had a flexible working practice that the dog stays with me when I get time off.Mark

So for clarity - the Dog is registered in your name.

Within the financial settlement was there an Order which was sealed by the Court - and if so did it have a paragraph saying that you no longer had any claim on each others possessions?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Good question and I will find out as that scares me otherwise.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
the dog is registered I my name and I am willing to scan s copy of that document to you for clarification.Also I hold the ‘dog chip’ documentation which I ensured the hound had with the vet.

And the Court Order?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
This is the response I had from the divorce solicitor. If this does not answer your line of enquiry please say.Dear *****,Thank you for your email of this afternoon.I am forwarding another copy of my email to yourself dated 26th January 2016 which attached the final sealed Financial Remedy Order.The paragraph you refer to us paragraph 19. This provided that you pay nominal maintenance of 50p per annum to Mrs Linsdell until one of the following events:-i. her deathii. her remarriageiii. your son reaching the end of full time secondary educationUpon the first occurring of these events her entitlement to nominal maintenance ceases and the Order also prevents her from applying to the Court to extend her entitlement or make any further application for maintenance.The practicality is that this nominal maintenance is not paid but is a safeguard for her all the time your son is at secondary school (if she has not remarried). If her financial position worsened (usually in terms of income) from the position she was in at the time the order was made then it is possible for her to make an application to the Court for substantive maintenance. However, should she do so the Court would need to be satisfied (by examining her financial position - including her maximised earned income and entitlement to benefits, her reasonable outgoings and by examining your ability to pay) as to whether she had a financial need for maintenance, for how long and at what level. This would happen within further Court proceedings which you would be able to defend and you would put forward your position.You do not say whether Mrs Linsdell has made an application to the Court for substantive maintenance or intends to do so. My advice is that it is standard practice for there to be a nominal maintenance clause in any financial order whilst there are children under 18 and that it would not be possible to "challenge this" at this stage. You are beyond the time limit for an appeal but, in any event, this order was agreed by consent at Court, on the advice of your barrister and bearing in mind the comments of the Judge.I am more than happy to speak to you further about this and if you do wish to speak to me next week please let me know when would be a good time for me to contact you?Kind regards,--
Jo Spain
Solicitor and Managing Director
SpainWilliams
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Having read it agin it may not be relevant to the dog.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for your detail in my question.I’m simply trying to retain the dog in the family circles where he will be guaranteed a good life in the event of the ex wife deciding to give the dog away.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I have emailed the divorce solicitor with your question, however she is away until the 10th April.I will be away from the office on annual leave from Friday 30th March 2018 to Tuesday 10th April 2018 inclusive. If a matter is urgent please contact my Secretary Jacqui Lacey or my Legal Cashier, Naomi Sales on 01233 220488.

Do you actually have a copy of the order itself?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Attached in the form of screen shots.

That is just page one?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Tried to use the “+Add files” but it won’t accept the pdf.Any surgestions? Do you have an email you’re allowed to accept a pdf via?

can you copy and paste the order?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
If any pages are missing please let me know.

Your problem is the paragraph at the bottom of page 2.

Whatever the emotional involvement we feel so far as the courts are concerned pets are possessions.

HOWEVER there is a possible get out by saying that you have "lent" your possession to your son. It is a little late to be arguing this but it is worth writing an official letter to your ex confirming that your dog is on loan to your son and should be returned should she no longer be able to accommodate him

I am sorry that the news is not better - please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for making my position clear.As there is a verbal agreement to cover half the costs of the dogs health, what do I need to do to regain legal ownership? Do I seek to have an agreement drawn up by a solicitor confirming the ex agrees to me maintaining a legal position of ownership and financial cost?Mark

I would make it a more casual approach - maybe an email that says - just to confirm as xxx remains a joint responsibility I will pay half of any vet bills

Clare and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
will an email confirmation hold any water should there be a disagreement later?