Legal Question in Civil Litigation in New Jersey

ownership rights

Me and my girldfreind broke up. I bought a dog us. She is trying to keep the dog now that we broke up. I have an agreement of sale from the breeder to myself for the sale. I own my own house and she lives with her parents. What can i do??

Asked on 9/06/04, 12:18 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Alan Albin Alan S. Albin, Attorney at Law

Re: ownership rights

Since you have the bill of sale for the dog, presumably you are able to prove that you bought the dog originally.

I would assume that your girlfriend may attempt to claim that while you bought the dog originally, it was meant to be a gift for her.

If the dog was meant to be a gift for your ex-girlfriend, then she would have no legal obligation to return that gift to you, simply because of the break-up.

The language of the question is unclear, but it looks like you meant to write that you "bought a dog [for] us." This would indicate the dog belongs jointly to both you and your girlfriend.

Ultimately, if you and your ex-girlfriend cannot work this out, you will have to file a lawsuit and let the judge decide. Obviously, the judge will not order the dog cut in half, a la King Solomon. However, the judge will decide who is the rightful owner--you, your ex, or you AND your ex, jointly.

If you "win", the judge should order the dog returned to you. If you win "half of the dog", the judge may order your ex to reimburse you for half the purchase price. I suppose if the result is a 50-50 split, you could also ask the judge for "visitation."

Unless you are strongly attached to this dog, or it's extremely valuable, you may be well-advised to let your ex keep it.

If you do wish to consult with me regarding retaining my services, I can be reached at: [email protected] or [email protected].

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Answered on 9/07/04, 2:13 pm

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