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Dog Custody Battle Has Cost NY Man $60K in Legal Fees

By Edward Tan, JD on May 16, 2012 7:01 AM

Talk about dedication to your pooch. New Yorker Craig Dershowitz has spent more than $60,000 on a dog custody battle, The Washington Post reports.

Dershowitz, 34, is embroiled in a legal fight with his ex-girlfriend, Sarah Brega, over Knuckles the dog. Dershowitz views the half pug, half beagle like a son. He claims Brega kidnapped Knuckles following their break-up. But Brega says the dog was a gift.

Dershowitz's money has gone toward his legal fees. However, the sad part about all of this is that both parties could've easily saved themselves a lot of heartache.

All the couple would've needed was a few hours to fill out a cohabitation agreement.

While it might sound like a mood-killer, these "living together" agreements are quite useful in situations like Dershowitz and Brega's. They work similar to pre-nuptial agreements, just that they're for couples who haven't tied the knot, yet still want to cohabitate.

Though some states won't always uphold them, many courts will nonetheless still consider them in any property-dividing situation.

Typically, couples can include whatever assets they want in the contract. From common things, like rent and utility costs, to more unusual items, such as pet custody, pretty much everything can be put in. Then all it takes to finalize it is a couple of signatures and witnesses for good measure.

A nonmarital agreement would've been particularly helpful in Knuckle's case. Especially since the couple's dispute has spilled out across state lines. Dershowitz is trying to bring the pup to New York, while Brega is trying to keep him in California.

For now, the dog custody battle continues. Though Craig Dershowitz continues to rack up legal fees, he's turned to the Internet for help in defraying some of his costs.

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