Can you file a small claim action against an ex-fiance for expenses incurred for wedding if they broke off the engagement?

UPDATED: Dec 8, 2011

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Can you file a small claim action against an ex-fiance for expenses incurred for wedding if they broke off the engagement?

My daughter was in relationship for 4 years and has been engaged and planning wedding for past year. He broke it off and took custody of their dog which they purchased together. He is not willing to reimburse her for any expenses incurred ($2000) or let her have her dog (she was primary caregiver and paid for all food, grooming and medical expenses). He took over the lease and she has since had to quit her job and move back home. Can she gain custody of her dog and financial reimbursement through small claims? Is she entitled to pain and suffering as this has devastated her?

Asked on December 8, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Indiana


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

My experience is that one can bring an action for injunctive relief as well as custodial issues over a pet with his or her former boyfriend or girlfriend. However, small claims court is not the proper court for such a request.

The reason being is that in small claims, the judge hearing the action does not have the power to grant injunctive relief or make custodial determinations. Obtaining financial reimbursement with respect to the dog would be allowed in small claims court.

I suggest that your daughter consult with an attorney that has experience in the area of the law involving pets.

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