Five Things To Know About Protection From Abuse Orders

Pennsylvania's Protection From Abuse Act is a civil law that allows endangered parties to seek relief from domestic violence. A skilled family law attorney can help you better evaluate your options where Protection From Abuse Orders (also known as PFA orders) are concerned, should they become an issue during your divorce.

Here are five things to know about protection from abuse orders:

1. PFA Orders Provide Specific Forms Of Relief

A petitioner or "plaintiff" in a PA order may ask a judge to require the "defendant," or alleged perpetrator, to do any of the following:

  • Stop all threatening behavior
  • Leave the plaintiff's home immediately
  • Provide the plaintiff with temporary child custody
  • Prohibit the defendant from contacting the plaintiff, their children, or family members

2. Every County Has A Different Process For Obtaining PFA Orders

Every county in Pennsylvania has its own process for granting PFA orders, but it typically involves these steps:

  • The plaintiff must petition the court for the order and describe the abusive behavior.
  • A judge may grant a temporary PFA order before a permanent PFA order hearing to take place within 10 business days.
  • The local sheriff will deliver the notice of the PFA order to the defendant.
  • A hearing will be held on the permanent PFA order.
  • If the judge grants the plaintiff a permanent PFA order at the hearing, it may remain in place for up to three years.

3. There Are Strict Penalties For Violating A PFA Order

A plaintiff should always call the police if the defendant violates any of the terms of the order. Defendants can be charged with indirect criminal contempt, which can result in fines of up to $1,000 and six months in jail if convicted.

4. PFA Orders Are Free To File

Plaintiffs in a PFA order do not have to pay to have it filed, served or enforced. A judge may decide to require the defendant to pay these fees.

5. Permanent PFA Orders Cannot Be Expunged

If a defendant receives a permanent PFA order, it cannot be expunged from the public record. Persons facing a PFA order hearing should consult with a lawyer experienced in this type of defense.

Contact Us Today

The Law Offices of Robert E. O'Connor, P.C., located in Media, Pennsylvania, can help you better understand PFA orders. Call us at 484-443-3087 or fill out our convenient online form.