How to get a Protection from Abuse Order
In Pennsylvania, a restraining order is called a “protection from abuse” (PFA) order. PFA is a civil order that offers a person protection from abuse (as defined under the Protection From Abuse Act, 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6101 et seq) by family or household members, sexual or intimate partners, or a person with whom an individual has had a child with. The following article discusses how an individual can get a PFA order.
To file a petition for a PFA, you’ll need to go to the courthouse in your county and submit relevant documents. Once the paperwork is completed, you’ll be taken before a judge, who will review your petition and talk with you to decide whether a PFA order should be granted.
If the judge concludes a temporary order should be granted, they will issue a temporary ex parte PFA. Then, a hearing will be scheduled in approximately 10 days. You’ll be given copies of the temporary order and the petition that you filed, which you’ll need to give copies of to the Sheriff so the defendant can be served and notified of the court hearing.
At the hearing, the judge will listen to all the facts of your case. You will have a chance to testify, as well as present evidence and witnesses to prove you experienced abuse. The defendant will also be permitted to testify and present evidence and witnesses to defend themselves.
If the judge concludes that abuse has occurred, a final PFA order will be granted. The length of the order can be between one to 36 months. However, if you need, you can file an extension of your PFA by returning to the county courthouse and filing for an extension. A judge can extend a PFA if they believe the abuser committed one or more acts of abuse or if they behaved in other ways that indicate there may be a continued risk of harm to you or your children (if applicable). There is no limit on the number of extension that may be issued.
One of the most important things a person can do when faced with domestic violence is to immediately, and safely, remove themselves from the situation. Then, other important steps include learning about your legal rights and options as well as the best course of action for your specific Pennsylvania domestic violence case. The team of domestic violence lawyers at LaMonaca Law can help you in your fight for justice.
Contact us today to request a consultation.