Cry “Havoc!” And Let Slip the Dogs of War!

pet custody

Pet Custody

A custody battle can be a dog-eat-dog affair.  This is especially true when the battle is over the household pet.  Litigation over pets has seen a significant rise in the past couple of years.  Unfortunately, to the dismay of most litigants, pets are not viewed as members of the family but rather merely as property in most states.  Steven May recently wrote in “Who Gets Custody of Pets in A Divorce” that “[w]hile it’s safe to say that most “pet parents” would disagree and see their companions as true members of the family, that view has no standing in court.”

Delaware is no different.  Judge Jurden issued an opinion in March of 2013 resolving a “custody” dispute over a miniature daschund named Dennis Hopper.  In her opinion, Judge Jurden stated that “a dog is property, and does not hold “symbolic importance or value.”   She went on to add that the “Court appreciates the emotional strain this [type of] case presents…[but] [t]hat said, under Delaware law, Dennis has the same legal status as a piece of furniture.”

https://shine.yahoo.com/pets/gets-custody-pets-divorce-140600532.html

 

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Article provided by Andrew W. Gonser, Gonser and Gonser Attorneys 

Gonser and Gonser Attorneys
Hagley Bldg., Suite 203
3411 Silverside Road
Wilmington, DE 19810
Phone (302) 478-4445
Fax: (302) 478-4432
awgonser@gonserlaw.com
www.GonserLaw.com

In the View of Gain, Think of Righteousness

prenupPrenup

Sanette Tanaka, in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Nothing Says Love Like a Prenup,” stated the most common topic in a prenuptial agreement (“prenup”) is the increase in value of separate property.  This usually pertains to the increased value of real estate.  In Delaware, this increase in value can be considered marital property, subject to division, even if it was (or still is) owned entirely by one spouse prior to the marriage.  Delaware does permits prenups though that can help outline the parties’ wishes with respect to their property.  Property is defined as “an interest, present of future, legal or equitable, vested or contingent, in real or personal property, including income and earnings.”

When the increased value of real estate is negotiated away in a prenuptial agreement, and that spouse later learns, through a divorce, how much the value has actually increased their can often be a challenge to the prenup’s validity.  This is especially true the longer the duration of the marriage.   Delaware will only invalidate a prenup if it finds that it was not executed voluntarily, there was no fair and reasonable disclosure of assets (or a waiver of disclosure) or one could not have had an adequate knowledge of the other party’s finances.  Generally speaking, it is very difficult to invalidate a prenup.  Better to look to the wise words of Confucius “ [t]he man who in the view of gain thinks of righteousness; …and who does not forget an old agreement however far back it extends – such a man may be reckoned a complete man.”

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Article provided by Andrew W. Gonser, Gonser and Gonser Attorneys 

Gonser and Gonser Attorneys
Hagley Bldg., Suite 203
3411 Silverside Road
Wilmington, DE 19810
Phone (302) 478-4445
Fax: (302) 478-4432
awgonser@gonserlaw.com
www.GonserLaw.com