Wedding Woes

Fight for your dog

Dear Prudence,

My partner and I were together for a few years, and then broke up somewhat amicably a few months ago. When I moved out, we agreed to share custody of our dog—half the year at his, half at mine since we live far apart. On the day he was meant to bring me the dog, he emails saying he had a change of heart. He said moving twice a year will be too stressful for the dog, plus he has land and can give him a better life (I also have a garden, though smaller). I’ll admit my immediate reaction was anger, I called him selfish and threatened legal action. After I calmed down, I sent a more reasonable message explaining why I disagreed with his arguments. He ignored me. I sent more emails asking to talk. He ignored all three. I let the dust settle for a month and sent another email, a compassionate apology for my initial anger, imploring him to negotiate an agreement that works for us both. He responded saying he was open to a trial period, but stopped responding again after I asked for details. I have called a few times, he hangs up.

I am tired of reaching out and being ignored. My last resort is legal action. My lawyer says I have a good case—microchip, payment, and vet were in my name, I took on a larger share of the responsibilities, like training and grooming—but there are no guarantees. I am much happier since the breakup and have started dating and moving on, but this weighs on me. I cry sometimes looking at dog photos; I really miss my pup. I also think because it is unresolved, it plays on my mind often. Maybe if I resigned myself to let it go, I would eventually heal. On the other hand, I want my dog! And it feels wrong to just let the ex stonewall me into submission. My friends think poorly of him for this and how he behaved during our breakup, and are rallying me to fight. But I’m starting to wonder if this is healthy or sensible, or if it’s just prolonging this breakup anguish. I’m too upset to judge. Should I go to court and fight for my dog, or should I accept I have lost him and try to move on?

—Acceptance or Change

Re: Fight for your dog

  • It's time for registered letters and legal action.  Do not let him get away with changing the terms.  He's an ex for a reason but the dog was shared. 
  • I gave exH literally anything and everything he wanted so that I would get the dogs.  I completely and totally get it and I would fight the ex for complete custody after this.
  • VarunaTT said:
    I gave exH literally anything and everything he wanted so that I would get the dogs.  I completely and totally get it and I would fight the ex for complete custody after this.
    That's a danger the ex should think about.  If everything regarding ownership is in the LW's name, the dog would probably be 100% awarded to her if this went to court.  And then he would never see it again.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I admittedly just don't get it, i'm not a pet person. But this feels ridiculous to me tbh. Take legal action since it's that important to you and Ex is going against what you'd agreed on in your amicable split. He's obviously counting on you to not do that. 
  • I don't know why, but I really loved this story from that tv show "Bull".  It had the actor from NCIS who played a psychiatrist that ran a law firm specializing in jury selection.  (It's a show, so I assume none of the legal proceedings are accurate, lol).

    The client was a woman who had been raped by a very wealthy and powerful man.  Looking into his past, they found a suspicious series of events where a former dog walker of his abruptly left his employment.  But then had enough money to open her own pet store.  They found a civil case from her against him, but it had a non-disclosure agreement, so they couldn't find any info for what it was about.  She wouldn't say much either when they went to interview her.

    You find out later he had raped this woman also and paid her $3M dollars.  But if she violated the NDA, she'd have to pay double back.

    The next person they went to was his now ex-wife, who he had been married to when the dog walker was employed by them.

    She told them a story to demonstrate how cruel he was and obsessed with holding power over people.  She had grown up poor, but was enamored with horses.  His wedding gift to her was a beautiful quarter-horse that they kept at their country estate.  She would go out weekly to ride it and spend time with it.

    Two years later, he lost interest in her and wanted a divorce.  He was extremely generous with the money part of the divorce settlement.  More than he needed to be.  But he fought her for the horse.  She didn't care about his money, she only wanted her horse.  He knew that.  He certainly didn't care about the horse, but fought tooth and nail to keep it because it was the only thing she wanted.  In the end, he won custody of the horse.

    In one of the last scenes of the episode, Bull and the attorney from his firm try again to get a settlement and ask for even more than they previously did.  They inform the defendant and his attorney that the dog walker is ready to testify that he had raped her also.  There's a lot of outrage that she'll have to pay back double the settlement and she has no way to do that, so he has to be bluffing.  Bull shows them a $6 million dollar cashier's check made out to the defendant, so this woman could testify without worrying about the money.

    And tells him his ex-wife also asked for a message to be passed along.  She said, "I really loved that horse."
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • If hubby went after the animals, I would destroy him.  I would not hesitate, I would not pull any punches.  I would go after the objects he loved most and he would know full well I am doing it to burn them afterwards if he dared to take the rabbits from me.  It's a stupid man that comes between me and the rabbits.

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