Divorce Settlement and Personal Property: Am I required to pay for FUTURE boarding for my ex-wife's horse?

Asked 11 months ago - Olympia, WA

My divorce agreement states: "The horse owned by the parties shall be owned by my ex-wife. I shall maintain the horse at the Martial Home (I live there, she lives in a new house) and shall pay all costs associated with boarding (including food and shoeing) through summer 2012. The horse shall be sold by Sept 2013. If the horse is not sold by the time I sell the marital home, the cost of the horse boarding shall be split between the parties 50/50." I put my house up for sale as it said to in our agreement. My house is NOT sold. I was boarding the horse at my home, but my ex-wife decided to move the horse early in July 2013 to a very costly sale barn. I paid for half of July and Aug boarding, and shoeing, but she wants me to split FUTURE boarding and all horse bills until the horse sells?

Additional information

Am I required to pay for boarding at an expensive barn, instead of boarding at my house as my agreement says? The horse sale could take months. Any help is appreciated.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Douglas R Barnes

    Contributor Level 9

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    Answered . This is going to depend on the exact language of the decree of dissolution / separation of property agreement.

    From what you have stated, it does not appear that the decree has a provision that if the martial house is still an available option, that she can choose on her own accord to move the horse to another boarding facility and expect you to pay half of the expenses. As long as your residence is a viable place to continue boarding the horse, the most she would probably be entitled to is half of the cost had the horse still been at your house. Any additional costs incurred because of her choice to board the horse at a new facility would/should be borne by her. That would be part of your argument.

    Now as to what happens when you refuse to pay is any ones guess, most likely is she files a show cause motion and drags you to court.

    Your best option is to speak to the attorney that handled your divorce or seek new counsel and have them look at your dissolution paperwork. This usually comes down to what it states specifically in the decree.

    You have a good argument so speak with an attorney and I wish you the best.

  2. Lee Alan Thompson

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . This clear as mud to me. Since she took the horse, I don't think you should have the additional cost. It was contemplated on the one hand the boarding would end September, 2013 but then it makes it appear it continues until the home is sold and some the total(?) cost of boarding would be split from the proceeds. See an attorney so the full papers can be reviewed. I read it that she owes you money but it will probably result in a contempt being filed. Defend it. I don't see a willful violation of the order by you but an attorney can figure that out.

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  3. Kathryn L. Hilbush

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . So you're selling a house and a horse, right? You really do need to speak with the attorney who handled your divorce because it does not seem that the possibility of having the horse moved from the marital home stable was contemplated nor was the possibility that the horse wouldn't be sold considered. Your divorce attorney is the one in the best position to figure this all out for you. If you didn't use an attorney for your divorce, that explains some of the gaps. If that's the case, consult with an experienced family law attorney in your area. This is just too much for those of us on the simple forum to sort out. Good luck to you.

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