Columbia, MD asked in Animal / Dog Law for Maryland

Q: A bf and gf live together. Gf adopted cat and gave to bf as a surprise Xmas present. Now break up. Who keeps the cat?

Bf cleans litterbox most often, buys the food often, and feeds the cat most often. In Maryland. Gf moving to out of country.

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers
Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Denver, CO

A: If there is proof of the gift (card, text message, Facebook post), then the answer is boyfriend. If there is no proof of the gift, then the answer is girlfriend.

1 user found this answer helpful

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: An unconditional gift is a gift, and that’s your answer, so if the bf can prove it was a gift, then he wins in court. If it’s a he-said she-said scenario, and both are equally credible or there’s no way a judge can decide who’s right, then bf loses. There is another complication: pet adoptions are often subject to contractual limitations on the adoptive owner’s ability to transfer ownership of the pet. This is because adoption is typically conditioned on the adoptive owner passing a qualification review as a safe and responsible owner. They sign an adoption contract that states they must return the pet to the adoption agency if they ever decide to give up ownership of the pet. So, it could be the gf cannot legally gift the cat to anyone, and there has been no gift even if she intended to give it to the bf.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.