New Law Allows Victims of Domestic Abuse Access to Phone Plans, Pets Now Also Protected

Posted By Hollingsworth & Zivitz Attorneys at Law || 11-Aug-2017

Beginning July 1, 2017, a new Indiana law will allow judges to approve the transfer of phone plans over to victims of domestic violence without an account holder’s consent. The hope is that by allowing victims of domestic violence to keep in touch with their support system, victims can make a clean break from an abusive relationship.

Until now, the issue of phone plans was never addressed under the Indiana Civil Protection Order Act. Prior to the law change, if a victim of domestic abuse was not the primary account holder, providers were unable to transfer their existing phone numbers and/or continue their phone service if the account holder canceled their service; victims were at the mercy of the abuser to maintain the phone contract. The new law hopes to alleviate this issue.

  • Victims requesting an order of protection can now request the court to order a phone provider to transfer a telephone number used by the victim or transfer a number used by a minor child in a victim’s custody.
  • The phone provider can now, under a protective order, also terminate an abuser’s use or access to a victim’s telephone number and/or account.

Your Pets Are Protected, Too!

For many of us, our pets are very near and dear to our hearts. The last thing a victim of domestic violence needs to worry about is whether leaving a dangerous environment will either force them to leave their pet behind or put their pet in harm’s way. The new bill included additions that allow family-owned pets to be listed within a protective order. Specifically:

  • A court can grant the party petitioning for a protective order exclusive possession, care, custody, or control of any animal owned by them. This includes pets owned by person a victim is seeking protection from, a minor child of either party, or any other family or household member.
  • Once a protective order is issued, the new bill prohibits removing, transferring, injuring, concealing, harming, attacking, mistreating, threatening to harm, or otherwise disposing of a pet,

The additions to the statute offer pet owners some sense of peace of mind, as the intent is to prevent abusers from using pets as leverage.

If you’re in an abusive relationship, there are many resources available for those in need. The attorneys at Hollingsworth & Zivitz are experienced in all family law matters and can help you navigate through a difficult time. Call us today at (317)569-2200.

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Categories: Domestic Abuse

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