In-Laws Refuse to Return Couple’s Pets to Widowed Daughter-in-Law Despite Court Order

New couple move into (guest) house on Husband’s parent’s property. Couple adopt two pet dogs.

Four years later, Wife moves out and gets an apartment. Wife leaves pets with Husband, but visits them often.

Couple files for divorce. The family court orders Husband not to dispose of any marital property or the couple’s pets.

Somewhere along the way after that, the Husband asks his parents to take care of the dogs.

Then the Husband dies of a drug overdose. The Wife then requests that Husband’s parents turn the dogs over to Wife.

Husband’s parents refuse. Who should get the dogs?

A trial court inexplicably rules that Husband’s parents are entitled to keep the dogs. Wife appeals.

The appellate court reverses and orders Husband’s parents to relinquish the pets to Wife, finding that the prior court order prohibited Husband from giving the dogs to his parents.

But Husband’s parents still refuse to give up the dogs. They describe the appellate court’s ruling as irrelevant or moot.

Apparently the Wife and her in-laws have been parties to multiple litigations. One was recently settled and the settlement agreement reportedly contained some language that arguably put to rest all disputes between them before the appellate court issued its ruling.

Depending on the precise wording of the release clause of the settlement agreement, the Husband’s parents’ reasoning may be questionable.

But it’s probably not questionable that they will all be back in court again soon.

Read more in this Cleveland Plain Dealer article: Widow’s custody battle in divorce court goes to the dogs.