Pets Left Behind


This may not be your usual pet issue. My husband and I have three dogs. One I brought to the marriage, one we got together (who we both agree is more mine) and one that he brought to the marriage. When we separated and he moved out he left his dog. I love dogs and don’t want any harm to come to her, but at the same time she is not my responsibility and does take a fair amount more attention and grooming than the other two combined. Plus 3 dogs are not really easy to travel with for only one person! What options do I have? Is it fair to say “come get her by this date or I will find her a new home” or can I not do that until the property is settled since pets are property?

Thank You!


If your husband had the dog prior to the date of marriage, then that dog is his separate property and he should have responsibility and possession over this dog. You should not rehome the dog until equitable distribution is settled because you don’t have any claim to his separate property.

It’s possible to enter into an interim separation agreement where you both agree that you will rehome the dog and therefore can face no liability for “disposing” of his separate property.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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