Custody of pet (dog) during separation period


I’ve been separated for nearly 4 months. We’ve mediated alimony, child support and financial assets. Household goods have not been sorted out. There’s nothing in the signed mediation docs about the household goods or custody of the pets. When I moved out I did not take our dog so she has had custody for 4 months. Last week I found our dog (marital property) walking in the street out side wife’s home (my former home). I brought him to my apt. and have had possession of him for the weekend. She knows I have the pooch. Are there any legal ramification if I don’t return him until we come to agreement on dividing the household goods?


Unfortunately for those of us who love animals it is a hard reality to face that animals are considered property according to the law, the same as couch. The only legal action she could take with respect to the dog is to sue you for equitable distribution and have a court determine who will take possession of the dog.


This is helpful. So I don’t have to return the dog yet? Received a call from law enforcement (left a message today) stating that I’ve been named in a police report. Not sure if she claimed the dog lost or stolen - in which case I’ll return immediately. Not sure if I’ve broken any law by bringing the dog to my apt. or if she’s just trying to scare me. I certainly did not enter the home to get him. Any comment/thougths? Thank you.


If you acquired the dog during the marriage it is marital property, you have not stolen the dog.