Addressing Pet Custody in Domestic Violence Injunctions
When they assess domestic violence injunction petitions, courts have discretion to address a wide range of issues, including everything from how a couple will share custody of their children to who will retain possession of the family’s home, at least for the immediate future. After the passage of a new law earlier this year, however, courts also now have authority to address the care and possession of a couple’s animals when issuing a domestic violence injunction. Failing to abide by any of the terms of a domestic violence injunction, including any provisions related to family pets, so if you have questions about the scope of the terms of your own injunction, it is important to contact a Clearwater domestic violence lawyer who can advise you.
When issuing a domestic violence injunction, Florida courts can address a number of different topics, but only this year were they also given discretion to award the exclusive care, control, or possession of either party’s pets, or the pets of a couple’s child, to the petitioner. Judges can also prohibit the respondent (the recipient of the injunction) from having contact with a family pet, or bar that person from taking, concealing, harming, or otherwise disposing of it. This discretion does not, however, extend to certain animals, including:
- Animals owned for agricultural purposes; or
- A respondent’s service animal.
To learn more about the restrictions in your own injunction, including provisions related to a family pet, please reach out to our experienced legal team today.
The Consequences of Violating a Domestic Violence Injunction
Respondents must always comply with the terms of a domestic violence injunction, including any orders to:
- Vacate a shared residence
- Refrain from going within 500 feet of the other party’s home or place of employment;
- Commit further acts of domestic violence;
- Threaten the petitioner;
- Communicate with the petitioner;
- Destroy or dispose of the other party’s personal property;
- Surrender their firearms; or
- Give up custody of a shared pet.
It’s important to remember that domestic violence injunctions are court orders, which means that the parties involved are required to strictly abide by their terms. Those who fail to do so face serious consequences, including even more restrictive terms, fines, and jail time. In fact, a person can even face first degree misdemeanor charges if he or she fails to comply with a domestic violence injunction.
Speak with Our Experienced Clearwater Domestic Violence Attorneys Today
If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence and have been ordered to abide by the terms of a restraining order, you should speak with a dedicated Clearwater domestic violence lawyer about your legal obligations and how to present a strong defense. Please call 727-683-1472 or send us an online message and a member of our legal team will help you set up an initial evaluation with our experienced lawyers. At Cairns Law, we recognize that it isn’t always possible for our clients to meet us on weekdays and so are happy to make appointments on both weekends and week nights.