Are you in the process of a divorce in Orlando, Florida? Depending on your circumstances, you may need to resolve issues such as child custody, spousal support, and property division. Who will retain custody of the family pets may also be a primary concern. Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC can ensure your interests are fully represented through the proceedings.
We’re a well-established family law firm in Central Florida. Our Orlando pet custody lawyers have over 50 years of experience and are equipped to help you with any type of case in this area of the law. We provide each of our clients with compassionate, aggressive legal services that cut no corners.
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How Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC Can Help With Your Pet Custody Case in Orlando
It can be overwhelming to consider the thought of losing your pet during an Orlando divorce. Under Florida law, a family court judge may be given the authority to make a binding decision on which spouse retains pet custody. However, there may also be the option to resolve the issue in a less burdensome, more cost-effective manner.
Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers can dedicate the full force of our legal experience and resources toward helping you achieve your desired goals. We’ve been helping clients in Orlando, Florida, make it through some of the most difficult times in their lives since 2012. If you hire our award-winning Orlando family lawyers, we can help by:
- Thoroughly investigating your case and evaluating your best plan of action
- Providing you with comprehensive legal representation at all times
- Negotiating with your spouse’s counsel on your behalf
- Ensuring you understand your legal options as your case unfolds
- Arguing your case in court if doing so is in your best interest
Ready to get started? Reach out today to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys.
Does Florida Have Pet Custody Laws?
Florida is a popular place to own a pet. Statistics show that more than half of households in the Sunshine State have at least one. Orlando, specifically, has numerous activities for pet owners to utilize and enjoy.
While Florida is a pet-friendly state by all accounts, it does not have laws pertaining to pet custody specifically. In fact, only five states in the country – New York, California, New Hampshire, Alaska, and Illinois – have such legislation on the books.
Instead, pets are treated as property under Florida law. This means that during a divorce proceeding, pets are subject to the state’s equitable distribution law. Judges will not consider the bond either spouse has with the pet in most cases; instead, they will only consider its financial value.
Are There Visitation Rights for Pets in Orlando, Florida?
Because Florida law considers pets personal property, there are no visitation rights or shared custody for them. This differentiates pets from children under state law, as state law does offer these options regarding child custody.
Nonetheless, it is still possible to reach a private agreement with your spouse regarding visitation and custody of your pet. Our Orlando pet custody attorneys can help you explore any legal options that may be available, such as mediation or the collaborative divorce process.
What About Service Animals and Therapy Animals?
Florida law may consider whether a pet is a service or therapy animal, at least in some instances. Service animals, in particular, are not necessarily treated the same as a normal family pet would be.
For instance, a service animal will likely be awarded to the spouse that needs the pet for assistance. This is largely true whether or not the pet is fully trained as a service animal.
The key consideration is whether a spouse has a disability that the pet is meant to help with. If that is the case, the pet will be awarded to that spouse in most instances.
How Pet Custody Is Determined in an Orlando, FL, Divorce
If a Florida court needs to step in and determine pet custody during a divorce, it will do so through its equitable distribution law. The first step is to determine whether the pet is marital or nonmarital property.
Nonmarital or separate property is generally considered property that was acquired prior to the marriage. However, gifts other than those exchanged between spouses are also considered nonmarital property, even if they are acquired during the marriage in most instances.
If your pet is considered nonmarital property, you will be able to keep it in all likelihood – especially if you also primarily cared for the pet with the use of your own assets.
If, instead, you and your spouse bought the pet together, it will likely constitute marital property in an Orlando family law court. The property division process determines how marital property is split between former spouses in Florida.
Whether through private negotiations, mediation, or a full-blown trial, who gets to keep the pet will depend on various factors. You and your spouse will each have the opportunity to advocate for why the pet should be yours. You may also decide to make a compromise with your spouse; for example, you may give up another asset in order to keep the pet as your own.
Pet custody in Florida may be evaluated on the basis of any existing pre or postnuptial agreements as well.
Our experienced Orlando family lawyers can help you determine a course of action that makes the most sense for you and your circumstances. We’ll first make sure we understand what you want to accomplish and what your ideal final outcome is. From there, we’ll develop a strategy that aligns as closely as possible.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Orlando Pet Custody Attorney
If you need help with a pet custody dispute in Orlando, Florida, look no further than Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers. Florida law doesn’t carve out procedures for how pet custody is determined, specifically, so it can be difficult to understand what you should do.
However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have rights that you can apply to the situation. Contact our trusted Orlando pet custody lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn about what options you may have. We’re confident that we can help you with your case.