Though we tell ourselves material items are just things and can always be replaced, in the eyes of the law some “things” are actually your beloved pet or family’s plot of land. Property disputes are a common divorce sub-issue, but occasionally arise from other circumstances. Whatever your case may involve, at Dunn Law we make it our mission to not simply roll over and take a judgment, but fight with you to keep what is most rightfully yours.
This Land is My Land, This Land is … Whose?!
If you’re a property owner in Ohio, you likely have two or three neighbors whose land borders yours. While it may seem surprising, those neighbors might be able to gain legal title to pieces of your property under a legal concept called adverse possession. And while less likely, an unknown trespasser could also squat on your land and, over time, develop a claim to legal ownership.
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What to do about Doggo?
When people divorce, or even when roommates part ways, disputes over what happens to household pets and pet custody can get contentious. Feelings over what is to happen to the family dog, cat, or bird after a split tend to be much more passionate than they are regarding what is to happen to a lawn mower, cappuccino machine, or even to that cool washer/dryer set.
As stated above, courts in this country, including Ohio courts, generally view pets as personal property. Because of that, and despite the near “child-like” status that pet owners place on their animals, Ohio courts will treat household pets like any other item of personal property when deciding “pet custody”. If people cannot agree on who gets pet custody, a reviewing court will next look at each individual’s relationship to the pet and will most likely award primary pet custody to the person who spent the most time taking care of the pet.
If you are considering adopting a pet with your spouse, significant other, roommate or sibling, try to avoid any dispute as early as possible. Consider a prenuptial agreement regarding your pet as soon as you adopt it or at least decide early on who will take the pet or how time with the pet will be split up if things go bad.