Q: My exboyfriend is suing me for my dog after he was convicted of domestic violence. Can he get a court order for my dog?
He was charged with domestic violence and criminal mischief. He is now getting a court order to have my dog taken from me and given to him. Can he do this or does this have to go in front of a judge (with myself present) before any ownership is determine. Please note, all of the purchase receipts, vet bills, microchip registration, and puppy contract is in my name and not his. He is simply going off of a non-formal oral agreement (minus a few stipulations) we made a year ago. Would the statutes of frauds also vacate any oral agreement (the dog (sale of goods) was over $1800)?
A: Under Colorado law, pets are property. Property can be divided between couples after the relationship ends, even for non-married couples. The difference for non-marriage couples is that unless there is evidence of an overlapping of financial resources or care, the party with the greatest ownership interest will likely get the dog. Since you paid for all expenses of the dog it is unlikely that your ex will get the dog. The oral agreement is of comparatively minor significance unless your ex must prove both the existence and terms (usually by conduct or stipulation). As for the Statute of Frauds (SoF) you will need to contact a lawyer about the specifics (SoF does not usually apply for family relation issues, but can for sales/gifts/bequests).
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