King Solomon For Modern Times - Partitioning the Family Dog

In a sad (if also slightly comical in title only) case recently decided in the 17th Circuit in Broward County, a couple that later split ended up suing one another for the dog the two shared while a happy couple.   Persinger v. Pitts, 24 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 998b.  In what was potentially meant to be a wake up call to two litigants who may have had designs more on spite and revenge than on establishing ownership of the dog, the Court dismissed the case finding that the two were joint owners of the dog and that neither of them could sue the other for replevin of the furry companion.  

Instead, the court advised that the parties were free to bring a partition action regarding the pup, which would be sure to send animal rights activists into a frenzy.  Although physical partition of property (i.e., "I get this half and you can have that half") is a remedy that is available to parties, it seems unlikely that the poor dog would be subjected to anything more than court-ordered visitation and habitation schedule if the matter were brought as a partition.  One other thing sometimes done with real property in a partition action is where the property itself is sold and the proceeds split between joint owners.  Presumably that would not be a merry result for the trio either. 

As this case shows, domestic disputes can sometimes lend some source material fit for Hollywood in terms of the extreme steps and battles undertaken by the parties.  In order to help prevent or wind down some of the (often quickly spiraling) hostilities and to protect you from losing your rights, it can be essential to talk to an experienced family law attorney.  Contact our family law attorneys in Sarasota and Port Charlotte today if you need help.