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Divorce and horses

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  • Divorce and horses

    How does the division of the horses usually work in a divorce where the horses were owned by the wife but bought during the marriage?
    Husband knows nothing about horses. But is trying to take them out of spite .

    Any knowledge on the matter would be helpful.
    Have retained attny but I'm curious about others that have been in this issue.

  • #2
    It would really vary by the state they are in. In some states they are still considered community property. Google "equine attorney divorce" and the state they are in and you will get to see a lot of articles and some citations that will help.
    "The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli"

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    • #3
      I think part of this will largely depend on your state, use of mutal funds etc.

      Here in CA - what you own BEFORE a marriage is usually "yours" - but, communal funds muck it up.

      Lets say that YOU owned a house. Then get married - it would be an asset before the marrige, and thus, your horse. BUT, lets say you had a joint account durning your time together, and some of his funds were used on mortgage payments, or tax payments for the house. Well, then things are not so cut and dry. He might be entitled then to a portion of the house proceeds, as he contributed to its value.

      Talk to your attorney. You owned the horses before hand, did you pay for them solely after, or were community funds used for their upkeep?
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      • #4
        Consult your lawyer. I sold mine to my parents. Should have kept just the horses to begin with good luck.
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        • #5
          Like everything with divorce it depends on the laws in the state in which you reside. Get a lawyer.
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          • #6
            In my state, property acquired during the marriage is marital property with some exceptions that don't apply here apparently.

            So the horses would belong to both parties until a judge says differently.

            In my state, the attorneys involved will make a spreadsheet of marital assets and marital debts in an effort to reach an agreement as to the division of same. Agreements are lots cheaper than going to trial, and an agreement gives the parties more control over the outcome than leaving it all up to a judge to decide. In agreement negotiations, the person who wants to wind up with 100% of the horses will need to trade his/her share of some other marital asset in order to get them.

            Your state may be different. So you'll need to discuss this issue with your attorney.
            I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

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            • #7
              I vote sell them to your parents, quick!

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              • #8
                Please don't rush into some fraudulent transfer of marital property. It can come back to bite you big time. Cause yeah, judges never catch on to those.

                Discuss this issue with your attorney.
                I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  So I have an attorney I am in Florida.
                  But my husband is an attorney which totally sucks. He has always hated the horses because they were too expensive. He is going after them for spite. One of the horses I sold to my parents 3 years ago so I'm not concerned about that one. But there are 6 others. I own a share in his law firm and I think he try to leverage the horses.
                  Should have never married and attorney.
                  Ugh I'm just worried about the horses and where they will end up. I did buy all of my horses with my own money but while we were married...

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                  • #10
                    Don't you just love it...an attorney who hates the horses because they are "too expensive".

                    Consult your attorney, I hope you can sell them out from under him though. This might not end well for them otherwise.
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                    • #11
                      You will have to figure the worth of the horses and take them as part of your "half" of the assets. He will get more cash or whatever to compensate. What an idiot, why would he be like that???? How hard would it be to prove he never had a thing to do with them? Judges are usually not into hurting animals for spite.

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                      • #12
                        What you might be able to do, is sell them to your parents - for a fair price- and the money can be put to the marital estate and divided. This could protect the horses, and a judge might not look at that as a fraudulent attempt to hide assets. Again, check with your attorney.
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                        • #13
                          As an attorney you know what you need to do: get a good attorney.

                          Transferring of assets by one party after litigation gets started is a very dicey proposition. To quote that storied legal mind, John Wayne, "I wouldn't."

                          Divorce always entails "horse trading." In this case it's literal.

                          Get competant counsel and let them do their job.

                          G.

                          Member, State Bar of Texas (Retired)
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                          • #14
                            Divorce and horses

                            Well, I gotta tell ya. I found myself in exactly this predicament with a very vengeful and intimidating X husband to be. He wanted and asked the court that I have the horse put down eventhough I said I'd sell the horse and give him half. Finally he agreed.

                            And so I went down to my nearest handicapped riding program and my friend bought my horse for $1.00 papers and all and my 3rd level horse was now carting around handicapped kids. I went into court, walked over to his attorney and gave him the $.50/his half and a copy of the bill of sale.

                            Here's what the court in the end DID NOT care about in my divorce: that he had well over $300,000 in the Caymen Islands,

                            that he had put his mistress up in an apt in Riyadh and bought new furniture in the Philippines and paid to have it shipped over to Saudi on our joint accts (ultimately sticking me with this bill),

                            that he had cleaned out our bank accts,

                            that he stopped paying the mortgage three months prior sticking me with all those bills too.

                            that I had him arrested and convicted of spousal abuse and domestic violence.

                            The court did not care how I was going to feed our little boy either and it was 1solid year before I got any child support and had to file my own motion to have him hauled into court for that.

                            No the courts don't give a damn and I have to laugh out loud when someone says---make sure you get a good lawyer----what an oximoron.

                            My advice---do what YOU need to do.

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                            • #15
                              Selling the horses is not sound advice. Even with a bill of sale for $1. Could be deemd fraudulent and he could come after you for market value.

                              Perhaps not "good" but you need a talented and successful lawyer who has handled and proven to have favorable outcomes in similar situations.

                              What area of law does your husband practice? Just because someone is a lawyer does not mean that they are an expert in all areas of law.
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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Pleiad View Post
                                What an idiot, why would he be like that????
                                He's not an idiot, quite the opposite. OP is emotionally involved - he's leveraging that emotional involvement into getting what he wants out of the divorce (OP guesses her share in his law business, which is probably worth more than the horses).

                                If OP were not emotionally involved, it would be an empty threat. She'd shrug and say a judge will work it out along with the rest of the property, and he'd lose his leverage.
                                Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Have appt with my attny on Monday morning. Hopefully will have good news. Is it true that the horses can't just be split? They are split by value? All of my horses are under 3. So are not broke. My one show horse did the gp but has had a few bad injuries in the past and is pretty much retired.

                                  I'm really pissed off because he came in the house and stole all the registration papers.
                                  I could quickly order new papers and put them in my parents name.
                                  They are all still in the original breeders name.

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                                  • #18
                                    Follow your attorney's advice and do not do anything until you have spoken with you attorney. The worst thing you can do is start disposing of marital assets before you get to court.

                                    Some states have an "interim distribution" which allows some of the marital assests to be distributed/disposed of prior to the ultimate resolution of the case and then be accounted for in the end on the marital spread sheet. Ask your lawyer about this.

                                    You say you bought them with "your" money but in most states income earned during the marriage is "marital" which means you are both entitled to it. At the end of the day you need to be prepared to have to give something up inorder to keep the horses. Of course, he needs to be prepared to give something up to keep the "value" of the law practice.

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                                    • #19
                                      OP - Back when I went thru my divorce, my ex wanted our 1 yr old dog; all else was split amicably. I knew if I fought he would dig in harder, so I said fine but made him promise to call me first if he didn't want her anymore. That phone call came 2 months later...
                                      Here's something I think you SHOULD do and do sooner rather than later. Find an equine appraiser and pay the $ to get the horses appraised. Make sure that the appraiser is certified or licensed or whatever - There is an Amer. Soc of Equine Appraisers. This will at least give you some grounds from which to negotiate.
                                      We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

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                                      • #20
                                        Again, depends on the state, and yes, a good divorce attorney, even if seemingly expensive up front, is well worth it. Mine was - and I made sure we saw "eye-to-eye", but "only" took me 3 years, and limited court appearances ahead of trial. I later had a relationship with an attorney who did not specialize in divorce. He got one of his "buddies" to handle it for him, because it would be "cheaper", and it cost him a lot more, took over 6 years, and even with him completing lots of the paper work, was much more expensive overall. At around year 5 I got fed up with this kind of decision making, as it was an example of how not to do things, among other matters. Having just gone through mine, and some knowledge of the legal process based on my own professional experience, I was tearing my hair out that my friend was letting his matter be handled so poorly. It is not unusual to change attorneys during a divorce if they are not working out for you - it almost seems the norm - and he was not about to because it was a buddy - even though I heard the whines daily about how much money/time it was taking. And the outcome also was poor. Make sure you continue to be happy and comfortable with your attorney. and that you can easily communicate with them/their office.

                                        As to the horses, because they were bought during your marriage, if they were bought with funds of both of yours, shown as such by combining them in accounts, in NY State they would probably be considered community property. However, you say you bought them with your money. If that was money you had ahead of the marriage, and never had it in another account with your soon to be ex, they could possibly be considered yours.

                                        Also, in NY State, if you tried to sell, or misappropriate property/funds, etc. after the initial filing, it will still be considered mutual property, and you will have to make up for it.

                                        Oh, well glad you have an interest in his practice. Will assume your attorney will still try to use an expert to evaluate your financial assets, so be prepared for that expense as well, but also well worth it. Your attorney will need someone who really knows what they're doing up on the stand. And good chance they will look to you to find someone to appraise the value of the horses if they are an item.

                                        Good luck with it all. I know your horses are important to you, but I would guess he is scared out of his wits about having to pay you for part of his practice. I'd get copies of the registration papers, and ask your attorney about whose name to put them in, but I'd guess they'd say to leave it as it has been. They probably won't be divided, but their value considered part of the overall package. Make sure you know every single item he acquired during your marriage. And as much as you know about the success of his practice.
                                        But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson

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